By Hum Bhandari, Acting Executive Director at NGO Federation of Nepal, member of Forus
The NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN) organized disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) webinars and meetings at the federal/central and province levels in Nepal in October-December 2020. The agenda and issues in DRRM arising from the local to the national level have been discussed at the same forum, creating a local-national interface.
At the central level, the virtual conference on 13 October 2020 for which NFN collaborated with other stakeholders, the number of participants peaked at 400. The Prime Minister as the chair of the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, and the Home Minister as the chair of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Executive Committee spoke during the virtual conference. Similarly, provincial level DRRM conferences/meetings were organized in six provinces with the participation and presentation of the provincial, local and district government level mechanisms of governments responsible for DRRM.
DRR conferences at the province level created a forum for government, development partners and CSOs for dialogue among different tiers of government: central, provincial, local and at the district level. Prone to different kinds of disasters, mainly earthquakes, floods and landslides, hundreds of people lose their life every year in Nepal because of disasters. Yet, the coherence, coordination and action for preparedness, response and recovery have always been inadequate.
It was clear that inclusive institutions, inclusive interventions and human rights considerations in disaster preparedness and response were the key concerns of civil society. Implementation of plans and disaster risk reduction by strengthening forecast and preparedness systems were also highlighted.
As a young federal republic, when the disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms are still in the formative stage at the subnational levels, the DRRM discussions at the national and provincial levels are expected to have moved the momentum ahead towards institutionalizing the DRRM systems at all levels of government. Having had the opportunity to attend to different tiers of the governments presenting the policies, institutions and initiatives, CSO and civil society participants have been capacitated to identify their roles.
The virtual and virtual-physical approaches were useful in connecting a large number of people far from each other.
Bringing the responsible government authorities and CSOs together, this was an opportunity to central, provincial and district level members of NFN to learn and share. The existing weak implementation, coherence and coordination mechanisms call for CSOs’ intervention. NFN has strengthened its capacity and recognition to coordinate and lead CSOs in such discussions and dialogues.
Photo: One of NFN DRRM provincial meetings, at the Sudurpashchim province