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UNICEF and DIPECHO support planning for disaster risk reduction in Azerbaijan

© UNICEF Azerbaijan / 2010
Baku, October 12, 2010 – As the world marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on 13 October, UNICEF Azerbaijan in partnership with the Disaster preparedness branch of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO) today hosted a meeting of the working group on Disaster Risk Reduction in Education.

The group experts from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Emergency Situations came together to finalize the work plan on “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Vulnerable Communities and Institutions in Azerbaijan”. This EU-funded initiative aims to emphasize the need for a systematic approach to disaster risk reduction and advocate for mainstreaming a child-focused DRR policy and strategic framework into existing education and disaster preparedness related policies, planning and programmes. “Children typically represent 50 to 60 per cent of those affected by disasters, whether through loss of life or from diseases related to malnutrition and poor water and sanitation—conditions that are exacerbated by disasters. In addition, disasters disrupt education and can cause psychological distress, or may even lead to exploitation of children” says Mark Hereward, UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan. “Education, public awareness, community-based preparedness, life skills and disaster-resilient public buildings are all ways to reduce risk for children.”

The Government of Azerbaijan, has been actively engaged in strengthening national capacities for disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Efforts are underway to ensure a systematic approach in indentifying and assessing the risks and minimizing the socio-economic impact of disasters on children through the application of more holistic and integrated strategies for education.

The Work Group will monitor the implementation of the main intervention areas, looking at curriculum and teacher training methodologies to enhance the components of DRR and also at district level piloting interventions to increase children and community knowledge on disaster risk reduction due to their vulnerability to natural disasters.

During the meeting, experts discussed selection of pilot schools, as well as conducting a baseline survey, implementation of a review of teacher training methodologies and the education curriculum to enhance the components of DRR.

The next meeting of the working group will take place in October, when ECHO representatives will visit Azerbaijan to meet the partners from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

DIPECHO is an EU programme dedicated to disaster preparedness, which funds projects in disaster-prone regions around the world.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. 



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