With the aim of promoting disaster resilience in the development and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) in Afghanistan and the State Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs of Afghanistan (SMDM) organised a conference on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) into the Development Planning Process. The conference was held in the United Arab Emirates, from 5-6 April 2016.
“Afghanistan is prone to multiple disasters. This conference has helped us to understand the benefits of the tool of mainstreaming and create a road map for implementing mainstreaming approaches into key Afghan government ministries to achieve the goal of disaster resilient development, with the support of FOCUS and ADPC,” said Mohammad Qaseem Haidari, Deputy Minister of the State Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs.
Facilitated by FOCUS and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), the conference brought together a cross sector of senior Afghan government officials who are responsible for fostering development in the country and produce a three year resilient development programme, in partnership with SMDM and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. The conference was supported financially by the German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau – KfW, through the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF).
Over the two days, officials from the National Disaster Management Committee, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Refugees and Returnees and the Ministry of Women Affairs discussed successful models of disaster resilient development in Afghanistan. The participants discussed how best to adopt the approach of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction, in order to ensure disaster risk reduction was fully incorporated into development policy and practice in Afghanistan so it becomes fully institutionalised within Afghanistan’s development agenda.
“It is universally acknowledged that mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into the development planning process is the most effective tool to safeguard development investments and ensure development is resilient to disasters,” Haidari continued.
“Disasters have an enormous impact on development. It is through the consolidated and concerted efforts of all stakeholders that safer and more sustainable communities are to be attainted,” stated Rahim Balsara, interim Executive Officer of FOCUS Afghanistan. “Integrating disaster risk reduction into development activities requires the consensus and active participation of the decision makers and planners at the national level and all related Ministries, with equal support from the donor, development community, technical agencies and the local community, to create an enabling environment to facilitate resilient development.”
This conference marked the beginning of a new chapter in the area of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in Afghanistan. Participants discussed the application of mainstreaming DRR into key development sectors in Afghanistan and agreed upon disaster risk reduction mainstreaming action points for Afghanistan for the next three years.
The conference concluded with the commitment to share these instruments among a wider platform in Afghanistan, to ensure endorsement from key decision makers and to develop a practical implementation mechanism for mainstreaming, led by the State Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs, with technical and local support provided by ADPC and FOCUS Afghanistan.