Pakistan is one of those countries that has experienced all sorts of natural disasters like floods, cyclones, droughts, landslides, earthquakes if there is one natural disaster that Pakistan has not experienced it is volcanoes. During last two decades Pakistan has gone through a drought from 1998 to 2001, the horrific earthquake of 2005 and then series of yearly floods since 2010 has completely shaken up the development process of the country and added extra baggage on the already crawling economy.
This is just one side of the story, Pakistan has been unfortunate enough to have man-made disasters imposed on it i.e. IDPs of ongoing military operations in tribal areas. Another unfortunate aspect in this story is that even after being extremely exposed to disaster perils from a range of natural hazards due to geographic reasons, country still does not have a disaster management policy and concepts like Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) are ignored.
While DRR is not taken so seriously in Pakistan but world is not as silent towards this topic. UN is organizing third “World Conference on Disaster Reduction” in Japan this month. According to United Nations General Assembly Resolution (Adopted in 2013) this conference will review the progress and outcomes of Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015. Hyogo Framework is a set of strategic goals and priorities that 168 UN Member States, including Pakistan, adopted in 2005. The framework was focused towards construction of pliability for the victims of Disasters and espouse a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (DRR).
In 2012, consultation of all the stake holders started under the UN Special Representative of the Secretary‐General for Disaster Risk Reduction in order to expedite the development of “post‐2015 framework for disaster risk reduction”. The suggested elements intended to deliver direction and support for the groundwork and discussions to build the future framework.
Pakistan is also one of the adopters of the framework, it is one of those countries that are facing four major challenges when it comes to Disaster Risk Management/Reduction.
- Many activities related to risk monitoring are insufficiently implemented in Pakistan that is mainly because of no public awareness and government capacity to do so.
- Countries like Pakistan also face the challenge of solidification of the local capacity in order to implement disaster risk management.
- Pakistan is prone to natural disaster due to geographical and natural changes and there is a dire need of aligning the disaster risk management techniques with the pattern of change in the weather. Pakistan has faced major loses because of recent increase in flash floods and further blow to the injury was not having a disaster management plan to coup up with such natural disaster.
- Disaster risk management policymakers also face difficulty in gaining political and economic commitment due to other contending priorities in countries like Pakistan.
Disaster, Risk, and their management cannot happen unless there an active role is played to achieve that. It is needless to say that there are ample challenges and weaknesses Pakistan has towards Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, but having said that these challenges can only be overcome when they are taken seriously. The forthcoming World Conference on Disaster Reduction is an opportunity to take an active part in the proceedings towards defining a framework for the disaster and risk reduction in post 2015 period. This conference is a platform where Pakistan can raise the issues and problems it has and play its part in not only finding solutions for its own challenges but also assisting other countries in overcoming their challenges.