A regular regional forum - meeting of the heads of emergency authorities of Central Asian nations took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan on November 10.  

The event was held with the support of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNODRR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its members included heads of emergency authorities of  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as representatives of UN agencies, donors, international and non-governmental organizations.

Opening the meeting, the Minister Emergencies Kazakhstan Syrym Sharipkhanov noted the importance of this event for constructive dialogue, exchange of information and experience, discussion of the situation in the region and identification of main tasks at a time of increasing impact of climate change, frequent occurrence of extreme weather and climate events that pose a serious threat to the sustainable economic and social development of all countries, as well as the lives and well-being of the population.   

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of the Committee for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense under the Government of Tajikistan Rustam Nazarzoda reportedly focused on the negative impact of climate change for Central Asian countries.

He, in particular, emphasized: “As experts from the World Meteorological Organization note, the abnormal warming of air temperatures in Asia is higher than the world average.  The negative consequences of this process, such as drought, floods, landslides and fires in various regions of the world, including Tajikistan, are very alarming phenomena, leading to loss of life and damage to infrastructure.”

He further noted that the forum creates conditions for attracting financial resources from donors and international organizations within the regional programs and projects to improve the efficiency in protecting the population and territories from emergency situations.

“I am confident that our Forum will become the platform that will allow our countries to achieve the global goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” Nazarzoda added.

Head of the UNDRR Regional Office for Central Asia, Ms. Natalia Alonso Cano, emphasized that the forum is a subregional platform preceding the European Central Asian Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2024 and noted that the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction will provide further support for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the region.

During the event, attention was paid to issues of international cooperation in disaster risk reduction, as evidenced by speeches on regional programs and projects in disaster risk reduction from such partners as UNDRR, UNDP, GIZ, the World Bank, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the Economic Commission for Europe, UNICEF, IFRC, MapAction. In addition, issues of further cooperation within the framework of the implementation of the Sendai Framework in the countries of the region were discussed.

Central Asia is an extremely disaster-prone region, annually suffering from the consequences of natural disasters, in addition to earthquakes, the region is constantly threatened by landslides, floods, mudflows, droughts, avalanches and extreme air temperatures, which has a negative socio-economic impact on the sustainable development of the countries of Central Asia.  

Central Asia’s nations have appealed to the UN Secretary-General on the issue of creating the regional system of early warning, mutual information about the threat and occurrence of transboundary emergencies and ensuring public access to it.