India seeks international cooperation to face disasters

India seeks international cooperation to face disasters

United Nations: In the face of increasing natural disasters in the world, India has favoured use of latest technologies and bilateral, regional and international cooperation as also providing insurance at affordable rates in vulnerable areas to mitigate their effects and to jump start recovery efforts.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Indian delegate Prabha Thakur underlined the need for creation of a more reliable mechanism to save lives after a disaster and addressing the problems of under-funded emergencies.

But greater efforts are required for disaster prevention, risk reduction and early warning so as to reduce the lives lost to disasters, Thakur said.

Stressing that all countries are vulnerable to disasters, Thakur said nations must find collective and cooperative solutions to the challenges that disasters represent.

“While there is no substitute for effective nationals efforts, a national response alone can sometime be inadequate," she said, emphasizing the need for greater cooperation in relief and rehabilitation in disaster preparedness and in setting up and maintaining early warning as a part of the overall effort to deal with them.

In this context, she welcomed the setting up of theCentral Emergency Response Fund (CERF) by the United Nations which aims at providing immediate assistance until donors organize themselves to begin relief effort.

But Thakur also emphasized that the fund should be used as a non-political collaborative instrument that supports the developing countries in times of need and disburses funds in an “even-handed" manner.

India, she said, believes that humanitarian assistance must be provided in accordance with the principles of neutrality and impartiality respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity and natural and national unity of the State seeking help.

Stating that it is important to have coherent national strategies and national capabilities to handle both disaster prevention and disaster management, Thakur said the development of necessary national capabilities must be the starting point of a disaster management strategy.

Referring to the need for low-cost insurance, she said the penetration of insurance in most developing countries is still very limited. “There is need for a pro-active approach in insuring the risk-prone regions through an approach that can spread the costs and ensure the financial sustainability of risk insurance mechanisms," she added.