SAARC nations ministers to discuss disaster response mechanism

"The eighth meeting of the SAARC environment ministers will start here tomorrow. It will consider the report of the expert group meeting and the draft agreement on the SAARC natural disaster rapid response mechanism," a statement from Union Environment Ministry said. The meeting is likely to consider various areas of cooperation in the light of current development with regards to the environment in this region.

Afforestation, environment management and planning, air quality management and water quality, sustainable habitats and waste management, land degradation including management of coastal areas, river cleaning programme, sustainable livelihoods among other issues will be discussed.

The meeting is also expected to launch the South Asia Environment Outlook (SAEO) 2009 and will consider the modalities for a Regional Environment Treaty. The member states earlier provided an update on the preparation of National Plans of Action for implementation of disaster management and disaster prevention.

On this basis, a comprehensive framework on disaster management in South Asia -- A Framework for Action 2006-2015-- has been prepared. A decision to formulate this framework was taken earlier at the senior officials meetings held at Dhaka on 23 May, 2006 prior to SAARC environment ministers conference there.

Two presentations related to the development of the SAARC Natural Disaster Rapid Response Mechanism, on SAARC Meteorological Research Center, Dhaka and on Severe Thunderstorms Observatories will also be made during the senior officials meeting preceding the ministers meeting, the statement added.

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