Key experts from the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UNDP, international organizations, government officials, academicians, and practitioners attended the expert consultation meeting, which was organized and held by the Asian and Pacific Center for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM), as a regional subsidiary body of ESCAP, in collaboration with the Plan and Budget Organization (PBO), as the focal point of ESCAP in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the host country to APDIM.
The two-day event comprised two parallel workshops, which respectively discussed the following issues: a) Regional Cooperation for building resilience to slow-onset disasters, including sand and dust storms, in Asia and the Pacific, and b) Building partnership networks on information management for cross-border disasters in Asia and the Pacific.
The meeting aimed to review a draft cross-border Asia-Pacific disaster atlas developed by APDIM, agree on the elements for information sharing and capacity building on slow-onset disasters, including sand and dust storms, and set up a partnership network for APDIM at the regional and global levels.
The expert consultation also contributed to stimulating deliberations, exchanged experiences, and reviewed best practices as well as challenges learnt and agreed on a set of recommendations for APDIM to consider implementing in the future.
In Asia and the Pacific, the world’s most disaster-prone region, many of the disasters including sand and dust storms are cross-border in nature and respect no boundary. According to the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2017, since 1970 a person living in the Asia-Pacific region has been five times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than a person living outside the region. Disasters also cause large-scale damage. Between 1970 and 2016, Asia and the Pacific lost $1.3 trillion in assets. Almost all of this was the result of floods, storms, droughts and earthquakes including tsunamis.