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Donors urged to assist Pakistan to become disaster resilient

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APP01-16 ISLAMABAD: July 16 - Caretaker Minister for Finance Dr. Shamshad Akhtar delivering the opening remarks at the launching ceremony of National Disaster Risk Management Fund. APP photo by Javed Qureshi

ISLAMABAD, July 16 (APP):Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar Monday urged world donors to assist Pakistan in its efforts to make the country climatic and disaster resilient as it had been facing direct implications of severe global environmental changes despite the fact that its contribution to green house emissions was very nominal.
“We have been bearing the brunt of climatic change and there are all types natural to man made disasters in the region, causing severe economic and social impacts on lives of people,” the minister said while addressing the launching ceremony of National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) here.
She said that Pakistan was contributing below one percent in the greenhouse emission, but still it was facing more challenges in the form of natural calamities as compared to other countries.
She said that the Asian Development Bank, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Australian Aid have donated for the fund, appealing other donors to come forward for this purpose.
The Minister was of the view that Pakistan alone could not run this fund as its economic and geopolitical conditions were not conducive for the purpose.
She expressed the hope that the NDRMF would augur very well, saying that since the disasters had huge significance, hence had been attracting world attention.
She was of the view that the natural disasters were causing huge damage to life and property, citing example of Ache, Indonesia where thousands of people became victims of Tsunami.
Shamshad said that Indonesia lacked preventive mechanism and had to face huge loss adding that Pakistan by learning from such experience could develop a mechanism to mitigate the damages of the natural calamities.
Lauding the NDMA for introducing the fund, she said providing funds to this significant sector were critical.
She said that the country should be fully equipped to deal with such calamities, urging the need of coordination among provinces, local governments and communities’ level to help reduce the impact of such disasters.
She also highlighted the importance of developing capacities among the people to deal with such disasters and reduce their damaging impact.
She said that not sticking itself to Tsunami, the United Nations (UN) should also consider other natural disasters that may be catastrophic for thousands of other people.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lt Gen (R ) Nadeem Ahmed while speaking on the occasion, said that the realization owing to massive earthquake of 2005, floods of 2010 and internal displacement of people from FATA and Swat paved the way for developing NDRMF.
He said that it was a non-profit company incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), working for reducing socio-economic and fiscal vulnerability of the country and its population to natural hazards, climate change through financing investment in disaster risk reduction and preparedness that have high economic impacts.
The initial financing of the NDRMF was through an ADB loan of US$200 million and Australian grant equivalent to US $3.4 million.
The government had made this money available to the NDRMF as a grant for on-granting to eligible implementing partners.
He said that at present, NDRFM was in the process of establishing itself and would soon start the project implementation in the field.
Speaking on the occasion, Country Director,  XiaohongYang said that ADB had been supporting Pakistan to cope with massive disasters since the floods of 2010 with the help of donors.
She said that ADB’s vision was to put the management of the fund focused on poor, affected and vulnerable population that suffers a lot during disasters.
She said that Pakistan stepped up from limited to proactive policy making for disaster management after the earthquake of 2005.
She said that it was a long-term strategic fund, which would need $2.7 billion in the next ten years to mobilize the fund.
On the occasion, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) exchanged agreement documents to support NDRMF.

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