The Deadly impact of Cyclone Nargis in 2008 threw the spotlight squarely on the need to craft a wide-ranging disaster risk reduction programme in hazard-prone Myanmar. That year saw the creation of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group (DRR WG), a forum for a range of agencies involved in the relief and reconstruction effort. Given the vulnerabilities and lack of preparedness exposed by the Nargis, the DRR WG steadily evolved from a coordinating body into an independent group that supports and advances Myanmar’s risk reduction agenda.
Its 61 members, who include UN agencies, the Red Cross and international and local NGOs, have actually contributed to four thematic areas: strengthening DRR institutions; community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation; building DRR knowledge and awareness; and mainstreaming DRR into development. That has gone hand in hand with political change in Myanmar, notably since 2011. DRR WG has used technical and Financial partnerships to support the government by gaining and building its trust at various levels and by reaching the most vulnerable communities. Working with communities is another key part of its drive to build resilience in the country. A thorough two-year review process led to the creation of new strategic frameworks for 2014-2018, which has as its objectives the strengthening of an operational DRR system that is inclusive, responsive to the needs of the hazard-prone communities and takes into account climate change, and supports the mainstreaming of DRR into development processes as a way to ensure that livelihood and essential infrastructures are protected in the face of disasters . The ultimate aim is to become a model for DRR coordination, learning and innovation.
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