Disaster Risk Management Strategies, January 2014

Frequent climatic anomalies attributed to global climate change have been increasing the number of natural hazards throughout the world and disasters caused by these hazards have become significantly severe, especially in countries where development plans do not take disaster risks in account. In most cases, damage caused by natural disasters have greater effect on the people in developing countries than in developed countries. Natural disasters in developing countries not only seriously affect people’s health and sometimes even claim their lives, but also destroy properties and social infrastructure that people have developed over the years instantly. When natural disasters occur frequently, it becomes difficult for developing countries to effectively eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
Although JICA has been engaged in various international cooperation programs assisting developing countries achieve their development goals, natural disaster has become a major obstacle in achieving sustainable development as it devastates people's security and livelihood. As the case, JICA has been strengthening its efforts to assist developing countries build societies that are more disaster-resilient.
The workshop included a series of lectures and scientific presentations on Disaster Risk Management Strategies and Case Studies in an open forum for various participants from JICA, JICA Alumni Associations, the public sector, private sector and civil society to provide their feedback on such strategies.
The opening ceremony was attended by his Excellency Mr. Seiichi Otsuka, Ambassador of Japan in Lebanon, in addition to representatives from JICA Syria Office, During the opening session, speeches were delivered by his Excellency Mr. Seiichi Otsuka, Project Manager of Lebanese Disaster Risk Management Unit Ms. Nathalie Zaarour, Acting Chief representative of JICA Syria Office Ms. Ako Muto and LEBA-JICA Executive Board’s President Mr. Ali Ghrayeb.
The speeches stressed the importance of such workshops in enhancing the efforts and exchanging the experiences among the Arab countries and the important role played by Alumni Associations, Introducing the various strategies to improve disaster risk management practices with the aim of reducing disaster risk drivers to meet development goals targets.
After the opening ceremony, the workshop continued for the whole day, and presentations from each participated country were submitted including power point presentations, concentrated on national case studies, followed by a session for question and answer was allocated where the audience got the utmost benefit from listening to the opinions of specialized experts in the field, and finally, a wrap-meeting was held where participants concluded the presentations and provided recommendations to JICA offices and to their own local organizations working in the disaster risk management field, A National Strategy For Disaster Risk Management is necessary to improve disaster risk management practices along three main axes; namely: the effectiveness and governance of risk management practices at all levels, critical infrastructure resilience, and city and community resilience.
After the meeting, LEBA-JICA chairman delivered certificates to all of the participated members and memorial Medal to each alumni Association.
The second day of the workshop was allocated for a site visit to EDL-National Control Centre.

At the end of the workshop all of the above mentioned participants concluded the following suggestions and recommendations:
1. Necessity of cooperation with Japanese experts, especially in Lebanon because JICA has still no representing office.
2. Requesting JICA to invite alumni associations to participate to the annual conference to be held in Tokyo, and to help signing affiliations agreements with Japanese civil societies.
3. Holding Additional Regional workshops, similar to that organized Yearly By Leba-Jica, in different countries to spread the information and Knowledge.
4. Activating Public Awareness campaigns (Radio, TV, newspapers, brochures, posters…) to warn people, public and private sectors of the risks resulted from Disasters and their impacts on health, water, agriculture and the environment in general.
5. Continuing the efforts of cooperation and coordination among the participated countries and working on establishing a joint database for the latest researches and studies in the field of Disaster Risk Management Strategies.
6. Request to the concerned authorities in each of the countries to set clear decrees, laws and standards in the field of Disaster Risk Management.
7. Dispatching JOCV/ senior volunteer to train bigger number of staff in the field of Disaster Risk Management courses in the region (Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, ...) instead of Japan in order to save costs and increase the number of trainees.