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The High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) - GWP PAN ASIA Consultation Meeting

The High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) was established to assist the international community, governments and stakeholders in mobilizing political will and resources. HELP is committed to address water-related disaster risk reduction under the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In early 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) announced global pandemic of Coronavirus disease known as Covid-19, making all countries in the whole world to focus their attention to combat the disease. Not a single country is prepared to face the challenges brought by Covid-19. On one hand, countries with poor public health and emergency response system, and water governance are impacted the most by the pandemic. On the other hand, disasters are not waiting for the pandemic to stop, making the risk becoming significantly higher. The risk from pandemic and the natural disaster, particularly water-related disaster, has created a term called “Twin Risks”.

Rising to the occasion, HELP is currently developing draft principle to address water-related DRR during COVID-19. HELP would like to conduct an online ground-truthing consultation, connecting several regions of GWP within Asia, particularly with a focus to gain practical insights to how such principle can be implemented on the ground. DRR actions with special attention to the current pandemic situation will protect disaster-affected areas from becoming epicenter of pandemic explosion and swiftly recover from disasters. The Principles are a set of practical advice urgently given to leaders and both managers of DRR and those of COVID-19 to better address water-related disasters that may occur even tomorrow under the pandemics. The Principles are made to address water-related disasters but most of the items are applicable to the other types of disasters.

The purpose of this consultation is to discuss and gain insights on how to practically implement key suggestions proposed in the HELP Principle to Address Water-related Disaster Risk Reduction under Covid-19 Pandemic. Asia region now faces monsoon season. The consultation also aims exchanges among decision-makers, experts and practitioners in Asia region on how they can be better prepared for co-occurring disasters on water and health.