Consultation on Addressing Water-Related Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) under the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Republic of Uzbekistan

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies and actions specially designed for the current pandemic situation will protect disaster-affected areas from becoming epicenters of pandemic explosion and assist with swift recovery from disasters.

On April 12, 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted Resolution No. 299 "On measures to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in the Republic of Uzbekistan."

 The Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Uzbekistan has the Inspection Service of the State System for Prevention and Action in Emergency Situations, which carries out the national control over the fulfillment of the requirements of the legislation on the protection of the population and territories from natural and man-made emergencies.

Given the serious situation in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic in Uzbekistan in 2020, all actions of this service are carried out under a special protocol. The real situation has shown that Uzbekistan was not prepared to face challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic affected mostly the emergency response system and water governance. It is clear that disasters are not waiting for the pandemic stop, making the risk becoming significantly higher. The pandemic and the natural disaster, particularly water-related disaster, has created "Twin Risks".

Rising to the occasion, the High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) with the support from the Government of Japan, has developed and is promoting a Guideline for addressing water-related disaster risk reduction under the COVID-19 pandemic. The HELP Group through the Global Water Partnership (GWP) network launched an initiative to hold consultations on those Guidelines. The proposed principles of the HELP program can be especially useful for improving the effectiveness of national emergency services and water management authorities. The Principles are a set of urgent practical advices given to leaders and managers of both DRR and the COVID-19 pandemic to better address water-related disasters that may occur simultaneously.

On February 2, 2021, the online consultation on water-related disaster risk reduction under the Covid-19 pandemic was held in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

 The consultation was organized by the IFAS Agency jointly with CWP-Uzbekistan under the support of Global Water Partnership. The main goal was to get a practical idea on how HELP principles can be implemented in Uzbekistan.

 The consultation was attended by those representatives of national bodies and institutions of the Republic of Uzbekistan, who are dealing with planning, making decisions and practical actions to prevent and eliminate water-related disasters. The HELP Group from Japan (led by Dr. Kenzo Hiroki), representatives of the Japanese Embassy in Uzbekistan, representatives and members of the Global Water Partnership took part in discussion too.

 The guidance / practical recommendations on the basis of outcomes of the consultation will be developed for decision-makers and practical specialists working to reduce the water-related DRR under the COVID-19 pandemic.