International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries (ITT for LLDCs)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP)
REPORT OF THE WORKSHOP
14-15 MAY, 2015
A. Organization of the meeting
- The Workshop on ICT for Promoting Inclusive and Disaster Resilient Development was held from 14-15 May 2015 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
- The Workshop was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in cooperation with the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries (ITT-LLDCs).
- The workshop was attended by representatives from the following countries in the region: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Germany, India, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
- The workshop was hosted by the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries (ITT-LLDCs) with the participation of several line ministries of Mongolia, local Government officials responsible for disaster risk management and ICT experts. The workshop was also attended by the representatives of United Nations (UN) bodies such as, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mongolia, Officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, officials from Embassy of Kazakhstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Japan, Canada, Czech Republic, World Bank, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, GIZ. The list of the participants is attached as annex 1.
- Mr.Matthew Perkins, Economic Affairs Officer, ICT and Development Section, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD), welcomed participants to the workshop by delivering his welcome address at the opening session. Mr. Erdenetsogt Odbayar, Interim Director of the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries inaugurated the workshop. The programme of the workshop is attached as annex 2.
- Substantive sessions of the workshop on the first day were chaired by Mr. Matthew Perkins, Economic Affairs Officer, ICT and Development Section, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD). Mr. Erdenetsogt Odbayar, Interim Director of the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries has chaired the sessions of the second day.
- The workshop has given an overview of the ICT as a critical tool in a disaster management context and discussed the ways in which ICT has positively impacted the various phases of disaster management, including preparedness, response, and mitigation, and participants shared the lessons learned by those stakeholders who are engaged with disaster management and disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities and who have deployed ICT in response to disasters in Thailand, Germany, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Kyrgyz Republic, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar.
- A Mongolia case study on ICT readiness in connection with Disaster Risk Management was also launched during the workshop by the ITT for LLDCs highlighting fibre-optic connectivity networks and broadband as critical infrastructure in DRM, as well as the need to significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet by 2020 in Mongolia.
- Thirteen speakers have delivered presentations addressing issues ranging from emerging technologies, policy, legal and regulation matters and ICT applications in disaster management context and explored the issues and challenges of information and data sharing, their needs and capacity gaps in their respective countries.
B. Following key issues were identified during the meeting:
- Participants called on Governments to put in place appropriate policies and telecommunication regulations that will pave the way for the active participation of all stakeholders such as Government officials responsible for disaster risk management,Private Sector, Non-Governmental Organizations. In this respect, experts have shared following views:
- Strengthening Institutional Capacity: The need to ensure the availability of well-trained people in Governments, telecommunication operators, and other stakeholders were mentioned. This would result in better preparedness that would facilitate the mobilization of both human and material resources at a faster pace when disasters strike.
- Technical Support: Need to have adequately trained telecommunications personnel who are capable of operating and maintaining the necessary equipment or disaster kits and during disaster relief/response. Every effort must be made to ensure that the telecommunications network can cope with network congestion in the immediate aftermath of disasters.
- Financial Standby Fund: Highlighting the need to set aside adequate budget that can be used in times of emergency without having to take last minute measures such as embarking on an impromptu fund raising for relief and reconstruction in the aftermath of disasters.
- National Emergency Telecommunications Plans: The need to develop a comprehensive national emergency telecommunications plan for better preparedness including the setting up of early warning systems and the use of existing GIS systems and infrastructure for disaster monitoring, prevention and dissemination of information. It should be characterized by new ideas that were not previously known or implemented in the past. Such innovative strategies should also be considered effective in terms of achieving the goals of utilizing ICT for promoting inclusive and disaster resilient development.
Annex 1: list of participants
Annex 2: Programme of the Workshop
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