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Statement of Mohmmad Qasem Haidari Deputy Minister for Disaster Management on Cross border cooperation and collaboration for Emergency Response and Disaster Management between Republic of Tajikistan and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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Members of COES, esteemed representatives from government of Tajikistan and Afghanistan Delegation members, team of UNDP from both countries and other representing organizations in this meeting.
Today, I am delighted to be here to share my thoughts on the cross border collaboration and cooperation on behalf of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. I am sure that today we would reach to certain agreement along with key area of cooperation for Emergency Response and Disaster Management across the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
We all are aware that both the countries are known as landlocked countries and have the difficulties in accessibilities in large number of geographical locations in normal situation even. We can imagine that this inaccessibility can be devastating during the disaster and emergency situations. It is one form of vulnerability for inaccessible communities at the border districts of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
It is well known that disaster does not consider any political or geographical boundary. There are several examples available in the world that hazards appears in one country but it created the devastating impact in other side of the country boundary or impact the borders areas of both side of the country. Both the countries have the almost similar kind of geographical status. It also encounter the similar kind of disasters of geological and hydro-meteorological nature.
Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns leading to unexpected snow melts, rain and fluctuating temperature have exacerbated the disaster situation around the border areas of both the countries. Both the countries are sharing the larger country boundary, which is divided through the Panch River. Number of provinces like, Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan are very close to the country border of Tajikistan. These are most disaster prone provinces in the country. Some of the border locations in these provinces like Darwaz, Ishkashim and Wakhan are not well accessible from Afghanistan side but it could be easily accessible from the Tajikistan side and it creates a good reason for cross border cooperation.
Therefore, Tajikistan can play the role of first responder to the disaster affected communities in these areas. However, Afghanistan Government has the well established mechanism for Emergency Response with the establishment of Provincial Disaster Management Committee (PDMC) in each provinces. It is widely established institutional mechanism with the presence of all stakeholders, which includes the UN agencies, INGOs and local organizations to demonstrate collective response capacity and resources for effective response to any disasters.
Though, the country level system exists to respond the disasters and save the life and property of the citizen but cross border mechanism system add the strength to the process to enhance the effectiveness of emergency response.
I will like to thank UNDP Tajikistan and Afghanistan to facilitate the process of cross border cooperation and collaboration among two governments system. I am also very much thankful to the leadership of Committee of Emergency Situation (COES), Tajikistan to extend the hands of cooperation for establishment of cross border disaster management system across the country boundary.
I am very happy that both the government agencies, SMDM and COES are coming together through agreed MoU for mutual support and cooperation. Emergency Response is the most time bound activity to save the life of people.
Agreed MoU may be a binding document with some of the key activities for Disaster Management with the mutual resource support between two governments. I will also encourage to underpin some of the regular activities of preparedness through the cross border mock drills among the emergency management team, joint training and practices of the team so that it could play a role with increased efficiency.
Apart from Government agencies, UN and other INGOs are also well placed to work with cross border emergency preparedness, DRR and emergency response. I will also encourage that these cross border agencies, who have very good presence in the area can play very effective role to organize the activities at the ground in close cooperation of government system. I am aware that Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) as part of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has strong presence in both side of the boundary with good technical capacities and resources. This potential could be harnessed through this cross border cooperation. Therefore, it is required to develop a yearly action plan in accordance of signed MoU and try to work out for sharing of resources through government budget, donor engagement or other INGOs engagement like AKDN and other organization as per the plan. It would also help in the sharing of responsibilities as agencies and joint actions, whenever or wherever, it is needed.
I will like to emphasis that both the countries should think about the development of the Technical working group for value addition and facilitation of the cross border activities of emergency response and synergy among the activities.
Last but not the least; I personally see the following areas of joint work as cross border emergency response and disaster preparedness initiatives.
• Sharing of information about the disaster incidences and potential disaster risk, which can be threat to both the countries and bordering communities.
• Develop a joint task force for emergency response along with conducting the joint drill to be familiar with the each other roles during the emergency response work.
• Sharing and development of cross border Early Warning System and establish the effective dissemination mechanism to at risk communities at both side of the country boundary.
• Establishment of resource hub for emergency response support and utilization of equipment for immediate search and rescue to the affected community to reduce the mortality. It is also indicator for Sendai framework to reduce the disaster mortality.
• Cross border exchange of knowledge and learning for betterment of disaster management system. There could be many more, it may be explored by Technical team during the development of activities for cross border continued activities for preparedness and emergency response.
I am very much happy that both the institutions from both side of countries have come together to broaden the platform of Disaster Management. It is good beginning with solid foundation stone. It could be materialized due to the support of UNDP from both countries but I will suggest for continued approach by UNDP so that it can sustain and we could able to make a good example of cross border Disaster Management system with the engagement of multiple stakeholders, who have strong presence at the border areas.
With these words, I will conclude here and will like to thank once again to COES and Tajikistan Government to accommodate the idea of cross border disaster management system to support the Afghan citizen with their knowledge and resources.
Thanks.

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