Asia, Europe join hands to mitigate natural disasters

11:27 | 28/11/2013 Science - Technology

(VEN) - An Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) high-level meeting on natural disaster prevention and relief in response to climate change, held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened in Hanoi on November 18.


This event was aimed at developing Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s proposed initiative which was approved at the ninth ASEM Summit in Vientiane, Laos last November.

In his opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh emphasized, “The two continents, Asia and Europe, are suffering the most from natural disasters compared with other parts of the globe. Notably, the Asia-Pacific region has been the victim of 70 percent of natural disasters throughout the world so far. Natural disasters are the consequences of climate change - the biggest challenge for humans in the 21st century - and human activities, industrialization, urbanization and population growth, accelerating the deterioration of the environment.”

Natural disasters will be one of the most severe non-traditional security challenges in this century, hindering efforts to improve the quality of people’s lives, promote economic recovery and sustainable socioeconomic development in each country as well as international economic linkages. Therefore, 51 ASEM countries with their considerable technological and economic potentials are expected to be capable and responsible for contributing to joint efforts to cope with natural hazards.

At the summit, participants concentrated on discussing typical experiences, practical lessons and useful policies regarding natural disaster mitigation and proposed specific solutions and practical actions to promote cooperation in the field.

Representing the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Akihiro Shimashaki said tighter cooperation would help ASEM countries minimize natural disasters in the future and propose suitable solutions to help a member country promote recovery and reconstruction after experiencing a natural disaster. Hence, ASEM member countries must invest more in preventing natural disasters rather than in combating them. Along with tightening the links between ASEM countries, it is necessary to promote cooperation between their specialized organizations.

Tom Kompier, a representative of the Dutch Government’s Office for Water Resource Development, said that natural hazards had a deep impact on people’s lives and was part of the agenda of many countries. “In the Netherlands, storms have increased due to climate change and therefore, we give top priority to coping with natural disasters. In the long term, however, countries must maintain tight links so that one can receive the most effective support from others,” said Tom Kompier. Sharing this opinion, other summit participants said that ASEM members must promote cooperation and seek possibilities for establishing a network of research centers and institutes as well as early warning systems for natural disasters./.

By Nguyen Tien Dung