The ECO Region is one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. Most countries in the Region are highly vulnerable to disasters such as earthquakes, floods, landslides and drought. Over the past two decades, there has been a steady increase in the incidence rate of disasters in the ECO Region. During 2000-2015, about 333 natural disasters were reported in ECO Region that cumulatively affected more than 70 million people. The majority of the 470 million ECO Region’s inhabitants live in the moderate to very high risks earthquake hazard areas. During this period, assets damaging accounted for more than US$ 31 billion.
It may be recalled that DRR coordination has been in place in ECO since 2006 when ECO Member States showed interest and willingness to take necessary joint measures for reducing the risk of disasters at the regional level. Accordingly, the ECO Secretariat has ever since started to identify and expand regional cooperation to this end. The importance of DRR cooperation among ECO Member States has been recognized in most of the ECO Summits since 2006. The annual ECO International Conferences on Disaster Risk Reduction are among the leading events to discuss enhanced regional cooperation based on experiences gained by the national disaster risk reduction strategies/institutions in the ECO Member States as well as the relevant international processes. Seven such conferences have been so far organized since 2006 in Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Republic of Azerbaijan respectively where the need for a more focused and action-oriented cooperation roadmap emerged. The “8th ECO Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction” will be held in late 2017 in Turkey. The upcoming Conference provides a timely occasion for ECO Member States to agree on regional frameworks for action.
The ECO Regional Center for Risk Management of Natural Disasters (ECO-RCRM) was established in Mashhad (Iran) in March 2007 for the purpose of conducting the functions and discharging the responsibilities in weather-related disaster.
During the last decade, ECO Secretariat underlined the imperative of disaster risk reduction for the Region, upgraded ECO visibility at the international level, and linked up its regional prospects with global trends and relevant international organizations and the UN agencies, specially UNISDR as well as regional organizations. The adoption of the ‘Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030’ presented an opportunity for ECO Member States to expand their understanding and link initiatives with joint efforts to address the impacts of disasters in the Region.
ECO countries are now engaged in the implementation of the Sendai Framework. The regional preparatory process for Sendai culminated in the ECO ministers- meeting on 15 March 2015 on the Sidelines of UN Conference in Sendai. The Meeting discussed the prospects for implementation of the Sendai Framework in the ECO Region, highlighting the need for a regional framework for DRR in post-2015. Accordingly, ECO Secretariat, in collaboration with Member States and international partners, has been working on ‘ECO Regional Framework for DRR’. The ECO Regional Framework will entail objectives and targets in line with the Sendai Framework. The ‘Regional Framework’ is expected to be adopted by the “8th ECO Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction” to be held in late 2017 in Turkey.