Pakistani President Pledges to Champion Disaster Prevention

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. Photo by : Mark Garten / UN

With his country still reeling from the effects of massive floods that inundated Pakistan for two consecutive years, President Asif Ali Zadari has pledged to become a “champion of the process of disaster risk reduction.”

Zadari made this commitment during a meeting with U.N. Disaster Risk Reduction Chief Margareta Wahlstrom, during which the president also pledged to scale up efforts to improve Pakistan’s early warning system.

“Pakistan wants to be safe, resilient and able to respond to any type of disaster. We want to take ownership of disaster risk reduction and to empower our people to be able to respond to the risks and threats posed by natural hazards,” Zadari said.

The Pakistani president’s remarks come as an international organization warn it is unlikely for governments to meet the commitment they made to ensure the world’s safety from natural hazards and reduce overall disaster losses by 2015.

The Hygo Framework for Action is a 10-year plan adopted by U.N. member states at the World Disaster Reduction Conference in 2005.

Citing poor implementation of the plan, the international non-governmental organization Oxfam urged governments to step up their efforts to meet the HFA’s goals of improving people’s resilience to natural disasters, the Tribune reports. In particular, Oxfam urged the Pakistani government and its partners to address the growing crisis in the country and invest in efforts to prevent similar situations in the future.

“Everyone is aware of how disasters have taken their toll in Pakistan and how they are continuing to put people at the brink of desperation. Until we start preparing for these events and develop a system, the vicious circle of suffering will continue to affect millions of people,” Neva Khan, Oxfam’s director for Pakistan, said.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.