Kazakhstan and UNICEF launch EU-backed project on disaster risk reduction
ASTANA, Kazakhstan - 12 March 2009
The signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Education and Science Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry and UNICEF in Kazakhstan on disaster risk reduction in education sector has taken place in Astana. The Memorandum is designed to establish cooperation and partnership as part of the project called “Supporting disaster risk reduction among vulnerable communities in Kazakhstan”.
The project is financed by the European Union’s Disaster Preparedness Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO) and developed as part of the Hyogo Framework for Action. The goal of the project is to include the subject on disaster risk reduction into the existing curriculum as well as to carry out measures concerning risk assessments and preparedness for disaster at local level and in Kazakhstan schools.
According to the UN, the regularity, scale and impact of disasters around the world are increasing. The catastrophes caused by natural disasters destroy the social, economic and ecological activities of people. This global trend can also be observed in Central Asian countries, including in Kazakhstan. That is why the reduction of disaster risks should be regarded as a very important component in a state’s sustainable development.
Mr Zhanseit Tuymebaev, Kazakh Education and Science Minister, Mr Vladimir Bozhko, Kazakh Emergency Situations Minister and Ms Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan, signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Project implementation.
“During this year a special training course on disaster risk reduction for teachers and schoolchildren will be developed and introduced in pilot schools. Then we will be looking into ways of integration of this course into existing teaching curriculum in such subjects as biology, geography, human and society, valeology and life skills based education. Since school days of children we should instill in them knowledge and skills on survival in disaster situations”, Minister Zhanseit Tyuymebaev told the press conference that followed the signing ceremony.
“Due to the diversity of landscape relief, climate conditions and industrial infrastructure, the Republic of Kazakhstan is vulnerable to numerous natural and man-made hazards, including earthquakes, mud flows, avalanches, landslides and floods. The Ministry of Emergency Situations has valuable amount of expertise, therefore, we are to assist the Education and Science Ministry in strengthening education sector within the current state system on prevention and liquidation of emergency situations”, Emergencies Minister Bozhko said.
“Children are the most vulnerable group of population, especially during disasters. Due to their age children have limited knowledge and skills, life experience, physical and psychological capacity to adequately react under stress of disaster, therefore, they have less chance for survival. The project is designed for enhancing skills and knowledge of children during disaster and we do highly appreciate the Kazakh Government’s understanding that without united and coordinated efforts by all the stakeholder it is impossible to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels of society,” UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer told the press conference.
Learning about disaster risk in primary and secondary school help child play an important role in saving lives of people. Making disaster risk education an integral part of the national school curriculum helps to buildgreater awareness and better understanding of the issues among the wide public.
“In all societies, children represent hope for the future. Schools, because of their direct link to youth, are everywhere regarded as institutions of learning, for instilling cultural values and passing on both traditional and conventional knowledge to younger generations. We have to develop the culture of safety and to make sure that the young generation are aware of disaster risk reduction skill and know-how to apply them in practice. Together, we can help children build a safer world for all of us. Schools make the difference between despair and hope, they also make difference between loss and survival,” said UNICEF Representative Hanaa Singer.
Raimbek Sissemaliev, Head of the UNICEF Almaty Zone Office
Sultanbek Khudaibergenov, UNICEF Communication Officer,
Murat Ablanov, Head of the Emergency Situations Ministry’s department for international cooperation