An eighth Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was virtually hosted by the Republic of Turkey on March 17, 2021 under the chairmanship of the honourable Minister of Interior of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Sأ¼leyman Soylu. The event, organized by Disaster & Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) of the Ministry of Interior of Turkey, was attended by high-level Representatives of the ECO Member States. The ECO Secretary General, Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour and his delegation also participated in the Conference.
Inaugurating the Conference, the Acting President of AFAD, Mr. Hamza Taإںdelen underlined the importance that AFAD attaches to the multinational collaboration for reducing the regional disaster risks. He underscored that the world was living in an age, where the impacts of natural and human-induced disasters are on the rise. Mr. Taإںdelen conveyed that the current hazards such as fast and irregular urban sprawl, increasing population, climate change and pandemics/diseases were all threatening us, the peoples of the world, and our aspirations for safety and lives. He considered that the most fundamental instrument to combat such threats was to identify these challenges in every walk of life, ensuring the preventions to be in place. The AFAD’s Acting President believed that the 8th ECO Ministerial Conference on DRR would reinforce regional cooperation and partnership towards the reduction of risks, expecting the outcomes of the event to be contributing for future of the region.
The ECO Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour appreciated and thanked the host authorities for making excellent arrangements to organize the Conference. He underlined that the ECO region had been undergoing repeated natural disasters, including earthquakes, landslides, drought, and floods, stating that the empirical evidences and scientific findings transpired the vulnerability of the region to be prone to further adverse events in future. Dr. Soleimanpour said that the region’s exposure to various natural calamities was intensified due to the rapid climate change and increased urbanization that continued to hamper region’s socioeconomic progress with a notable toll on its human capital. The ECO Secretary General recalled the Member States’ efforts for discovering some intra-regional ways and means to meet any such challenges. He noted that the jointly developed documents, including the ECO Regional Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and its relevant roadmap as well as Ankara Declaration to be adopted by the Conference were expected to play a pivotal role in securing the desired aims and objectives on DRR.
The honourable Minister of Interior of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Süleyman Soylu, while explaining the concept of globalization, warned that the globalization’s experiences in technology and communications were not enough for a safer and wealthier world. Illuminating the helplessness of the developed countries, which were supposed to overcome any such challenges, he noted that they were most affected by the pandemic. He emphasized that the process of globalization should not only be for the purpose of wealth but also for security and peace, focusing on transnational cooperation in trade and development, every security issue, goodwill, right to life and sincerity, including each kind of disasters. The Minister acknowledged the effectiveness of cooperative activities and shared experiences as well as risk reduction plans that helped reduce the possible damages of such disasters. He mentioned some of Turkey’s initiatives, projects and programs for mitigating and responding natural hazards to create a more resilient society, pointing out that creating a society resistant to disasters was also an important component of economic development. He considered that increased regional cooperation on human axis would significantly contribute to the accomplishment of our envisioned aims and objectives.
The Conference adopted the ECO Regional Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (ECORFDRR) and its implementation roadmap as well as the Ankara Declaration as ECO’s main documents on disaster risk reduction. The discussions made during the meeting also featured on certain aspects possible collective measures, skills, expertise and international practices to fuel the regional efforts for preventing and minimizing the effects of such adverse events.
In the beginning of the Conference, the ECO Secretary General was joined by the participating delegates to express their deep condolences over the sad demise of the mother of the event’s chair, H.E. Mr. Süleyman Soylu.