Disaster response capacity building begins at UNDP workshop

27 Feb 2013

image UNDP Thailand / Mark S. Cogan : Sanny Jegillos, Practice Coordinator and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor, Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre.

PATTAYA, Thailand – Building on a partnership designed to boost disaster response capacity UNDP, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), and Thammasat University are co-hosting a project inception workshop in Pattaya to help DDPM bureaus understand and take ownership of the partnership’ goals and objectives.

“The aim of this workshop is to help the bureaus to participate in planning activities with support from specialists who bring in best practices from other areas,” said Sanny Jegillos, Practice Coordinator and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor, Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre.

More than 30 representatives from DDPM bureaus are attending the workshop in Pattaya, which continues through March 1.

The 2011 floods are considered the worst natural disaster to hit Thailand in more than a half century. One fifth of the country was inundated with water including many parts of Bangkok. The floods claimed 815 lives, and more than 3 million households in 64 Thai provinces. The water damaged over 18,000 roads, thousands of drainage structures and bridges, and over 10 million rai of farmland.

DDPM is the key agency in Thailand responsible for coordinating disaster response and risk reduction. The Royal Thai Government, through the DDPM is contributing more than $150,000 to the partnership in the first year, signaling the government's strong commitment to capacity improvement.

Over the next three years, UNDP’s initiative with DDPM will strengthen their capacity to adapt to disasters when they occur, by boosting the institutional capacity of both the Department and related line ministries to be better prepared to address climate change and environmental security issues.

“This [partnership] is proof of what we can do during and after moments of great crisis. With hard work, we are confident that Thailand will emerge stronger. Emergency responses will be faster. And most importantly—we will save lives,” said Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand.

The workshop in Pattaya will help DDPM finalize its annual work plan with precise and measurable performance indicators—in a manner consistent with the expected project outcomes. The workshop also provides an opportunity for participants to understand their roles, functions, and responsibilities within the project's decision-making structures, including reporting and communication lines, and conflict resolution mechanisms.

The workshop is having immediate results.

“They are open to discussing the critical challenges they face and are seeking pro-active solutions to those challenges. The bureaus are now taking ownership of this project and understanding its importance,” Jegillos said.