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ISLAMABAD: Representatives from 16 Asian countries are all set to meet in Islamabad on Monday during the inaugural session of the 13th annual meeting of the Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management.

The three-day event is being hosted by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Thailand.

Indian national disaster management officials are not going to participate in the meeting due to which it is not clear if Pakistan will attend the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled to be held in New Delhi in the first week of November.

India and Bangladesh, however, skip the 13th annual Meeting of Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management

The meeting in Islamabad will conclude on October 19 with a joint statement on reducing disaster risks in Asia Pacific region through collective efforts.

Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal will be the chief guest at the inaugural session which has the main theme “Operationalising global frameworks for risk-resilient development in Asia.”

The meeting will offer an opportunity to the member countries to devise collective actions for implementing global frameworks in a bid to save lives and properties in the face of climate change phenomenon that threatens to affect development efforts of the Asian economies.

The participants will discuss opportunities and challenges for implementing at the national and regional scale the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The regional coordination committee is made up of 26 member countries that serve as an informal consultative mechanism on disaster risk reduction in the Asia Pacific region. Every year, senior representatives, working on key government positions in the national disaster management system of respective countries, meet and exchange experiences in addition to developing practical cooperative programmes on disaster risk reduction and climate change adoption.

ADPC, acting as the secretariat since the committee’s inception in 2000, will facilitate the meeting and its findings shall pave the way to shape the direction of future programs at regional level.

Participating countries include China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Besides, delegates from Denmark, USA, Switzerland, Germany and different international organisations are participating as observers.

The countries not participating in the meeting include India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Cambodia, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Papua New Guinea.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2016