ISLAMABAD: At the invitation of the National Disaster Management Authority, high-ranking officials of national disaster management offices and related organisations from 16 Asian countries are all set to meet on Monday to discuss and deliberate upon options for disaster risk reduction through regional cooperation.

The meeting will conclude on October 19 with a joint statement from all the participating countries on reducing disaster risks in Asia-Pacific region through collective efforts.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Prof Ahsan Iqbal will be the chief guest at the inaugural session of the 13th annual meeting of the Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) on Disaster Management.

The meeting will offer an opportunity to the member countries to devise collective actions for implementing global frameworks in a bid to save lives and properties in the face of climate change phenomenon that threatens to affect development efforts of Asian economies.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Pakistan is hosting the event in collaboration with Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), Thailand.

The RCC will discuss opportunities and challenges for implementing at national and regional scale the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction , the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) is made up of 26 member countries that serve as an informal consultative mechanism on disaster risk reduction in the Asia-Pacific region.

Every year, senior representatives, working on key government positions in the national disaster management system of respective countries, participate and exchange experiences in addition to developing practical cooperative programmes on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption.

ADPC, acting as the secretariat since the committee’s inception in 2000, will facilitate the meeting and findings of the meeting shall pave the way to shape the direction of future programmes at regional level.

Participating countries include China, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Besides that delegates from Denmark, the United States, Switzerland, Germany and different international organisations are participating as observers.

The meeting assumes importance owing to the fact that it is held three weeks before Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction , scheduled to be held in New Delhi in first week of November 2016. The input of the 13th RCC meeting will significantly contribute to the ministerial conference.

Meeting of such a large scale of foreign delegates, including Saarc countries, is considered a diplomatic success as well as recognition of Pakistan’s stature and commitment to global framework and humanitarian cause.