She inaugurated the 4th session of the Regional Consultative Group
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stressed the need for collaboration and cooperation among neighbouring countries to minimize the damage caused by natural disasters.
"Collaboration and cooperation among nations, especially neighbours, is crucial; to face the damage caused by natural disasters of great magnitude," she said on Thursday.
The prime minister made the statement while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 4th session of the Regional Consultative Group (RCG), on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific, in Dhaka.
She inaugurated the three-day international conference at hotel InterContinental Dhaka, reports UNB.
At total of 150 representatives from 26 RCG member countries are participating in the conference. The event aims to strengthen emergency coordination at the national and regional level; and allow for an exchange of disaster management experience to face man-made and natural disasters.
Sheikh Hasina said: "We may not be able to prevent natural disasters but can reduce the extent of their damage through our careful work. In Bangladesh, we are prioritizing mitigation programs."
Stating that casualties from natural disasters in the country, as a result of government measures, have sharply declined, she said: "Bangladesh is now known as a role model for disaster management in the world and is now moving towards building resilience."
The prime minister said Bangladesh has been able to reduce casualties from incidents of natural disasters, recently, by taking various measures such as line improvement in early warning systems and dissemination of information; the establishment of cyclone shelters; and the active engagement of dedicated CPP volunteers in preparedness and response activities.
Mentioning that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had initiated the Cyclone Preparedness Program-CPP in 1972, she said the CPP is one of the first community-based disaster preparedness programs in the world.
"Now we are replicating the CPP model for other disasters," she added.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh contributes little to climate change, but is one of the worst-affected by its impacts due to its geographic location, which is highly-prone to natural disasters like: cyclones, floods, landslides, and earthquakes.
She said the relevance of Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination is increasing in the face of an increased number of large-scale emergencies in the region.
"We are advancing towards national resilience guided by our vision 2021 and 2041 to contribute to global commitments and targets. Our national humanitarian architecture is quite supportive of Civil-Military Coordination," she added.
Providing humanitarian assistance, constructing infrastructure, and maintaining law and order for the 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens is exemplary work through a civil-military coordinated response, she said.
Mentioning that sustainable development is directly linked to climate change, she said her government recently adopted Delta Plan 2100, which will provide Bangladesh a sustainable development pathway for the next 100 years.
The prime minister said Bangladesh is working on institutional improvements to humanitarian response mechanisms.
She added: "We have taken initiatives to establish the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for effective and timely responses as well as the smooth coordination of emergency operations."
About man-made disasters, she said: "We cannot ignore the man-made disasters like traffic accidents, fires, building and bridge collapses, terrorist attacks, etc. We have to undertake appropriate measures to arrest these disasters."
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahaman and Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed, among others, spoke on the occasion. Disasters Management and Relief Secretary Md Shah Kamal delivered the welcome speech.