Knowledge Note

The inaugural meeting of the National Working Group(NWG) on Risk Assessment was held on 19 November,2012 under the leadership of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) with the technical support of the World Bank Pakistan. The meeting marked a major shift in the identifying risk in Pakistan, which continues to be affected by various disasters especially earthquakes and floods almost on a yearly basis and has suffered a loss of more than US$ 16billion due to natural disasters in the last decade alone. While the entire country is vulnerable to natural hazards, there has yet to be a national level risk assessment of Pakistan which is considered as the first step to enable the government to prioritize investments for mitigating the risk these hazards pose to the human capital and infrastructure. Moreover, in order for the risk assessment to be owned byte Government and to have its recommendations incorporated in the national development process, this task needs to be undertaken by the national technical entities. Previously there had been some standalone risk assessments undertaken by consultants who prepared their reports which were not used by policymakers and development planners. The World Bank Disaster Risk Management (DRM)team recommended that the NDMA should take the leadership of disaster risk assessment by creating a forum comprising of technical agencies such as the Meteorological Department, the Geological Survey, the Space Agency and other relevant stakeholders. This was a new concept for the NDMA and the technical agencies but was welcomed by all stakeholders as it provided an opportunity for building their capacity and utilizing the existing expertise and indigenous knowledge in undertaking risk assessments. This was evident by the feedback given by the participants in the inaugural meeting and they were unanimous in the opinion that such an initiative was long overdue and confirmed their commitment to participate in the national working group. Commitment and ownership of the Government was evident from the from the remarks of the Federal Minister for Science and Technology who opened the meeting and termed creation of the National Working Group as a timely step towards a resilient Pakistan. He further stressed on utilizing local knowledge and expertise to identify risk in order to prioritize and guide mitigation measures considering the limited resources of the government. The Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority also termed the creation of the NWG as a critical step which would serve as the foundation for consolidating disaster risk related interventions in the country

About the Presenters

Disaster Risk and Climate Change Unit