Celebrating 13 Oct, 2015 International day for Disaster Reduction, Islamabad

Celebrating 13 Oct, 2015 International day for Disaster Reduction, Islamabad


On 13th October, 2015, International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was observed by members of the DRR Forum on behalf of civil society working in Pakistan. The theme for 2015 focused on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge. Civil society activists, DRR Experts and member of legislative assembly have participated in the celebration organized at Margla Hotel Islamabad. Two panel discussions were arranged to discuss and highlight the importance of local Knowledge and DRR-role of civil society in Pakistan. Gusset speakers have made speeches to further stress on the importance of local knowledge and its effective use in program development.

Theme of the first panel discussion was DRR-Role of Civil Society in Pakistan. Heather Macey (PHF), Adnan Cheema (Islamic Relief), Sameer Luqman (UNESCO) and Iqbal Karim ( ECHO) were among the panelists. Discussion was moderated and facilitated by Shoaib Haider (HOPE’87).  The underlying theme identified by all the speakers was “collective work” and “advocacy based on the principles”. They also highlighted the issue of access both geographical and informational to CSOs in Pakistan. Alignment of DRR initiatives in Pakistan with newly developed SDGs have also been discussed and advocated.

Theme of the second panel discussion was Knowledge for Life- traditional, indigenous and local knowledge. Nusrat Nasab, Focus Humanitarian Assistance Naunehal Shah, DRR forum (Observer) and Dr. Rashid Bajwa, (National Rural Support Program). Discussion was moderated and facilitated by Muhammad Asar ul Haq, Mercy Corps (MC). Panelists have provided evidences on how local knowledge and traditions provided resilience to communities against different kinds of disasters in Pakistan. They have also provided a convincing discourse on how to deal with science vs tradition paradox. Dr. Rashid Bajwa shared his thoughts on how disasters have provided a development opportunity through a build back better approach. He further shared that nature has its own course of readjusting itself.

Shahida Arif (Save the Childeren ) presented National DRR Forum Strategic Priorities. These priorities identified by the forum membership are (1) Urban and Rural DRM (2) Environment, Water and Natural resource management (3) School Safety and DRM education. Afterwards Chief Guest, Rizwan Naseer (Sitar-e-Imtiaz) provided a brief situational analysis of current and historical DRR perspective in Pakistan and suggested a way forward for CSOs in Pakistan. He called for division of work by focusing on specialization, He Said” Instead of doing the same and repetition, it would be the right time for every organization to pick certain areas”.  Closing speech was given by Maiza Hameed (Member National Assembly Pakistan). She congratulated and admired the efforts of DRR forum on promoting the culture of safety in Pakistan.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Syed Shahid Kazmi, Chairman of the National DRR Forum Pakistan.