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WV Taiwan hosts conference on emergency response and disaster management (5/18/10)

 World Vision Taiwan hosted an “International Conference on Emergency Response and Disaster Management” on May 18-19 where 200 professional relief workers and researchers from government agencies and NGOs across Taiwan gathered to share policy strategies, current disaster trends, and experiences in the field of emergency relief and disaster prevention. 
The conference was organized by World Vision Taiwan to promote partnerships between different NGOs and government agencies within Taiwan to ensure effective responses to future natural disasters and to discuss practices that best benefit children and their communities.  A special emphasis was placed on disaster risk reduction and prevention to mitigate the impact of disasters at the local community level.
“Today, disasters have global impact and are increasingly becoming more serious than ever before. Governments and NGOs have to work closer together for emergency relief responses,” said The Premier of Executive Yuan, Mr. Wu Den-yih, who was invited to open the two-day conference. Premier Wu expressed that this international conference was very important and meaningful for Taiwan, especially after the devastation inflicted on the island nation by Typhoon Morakot last summer.
The three major relief NGOs in Taiwan, Tzu Chi Foundation, Red Cross Society of The Republic of China and World Vision Taiwan participated in this event and were each given opportunities to share their emergency relief experiences, especially with respect to the Typhoon Morakot and the Haiti Earthquake responses.
“I believe our discussions and collaborative approach will allow our respective organizations to protect and save the lives of many children and their families against future disasters,” said Hank Du, Executive Director for World Vision Taiwan.
Ms. Agnes Palacio, National Disaster Response Advisor of UNDP-Philippines, Country Coordinator for OCHA in Philippines, cautioned that though progress has been made, many challenges remain for governments and NGO’s to ensure effective emergency response. 
“Governments themselves need to be more responsive and resilient, while also allowing INGO’s greater space to operate and partner with one another,” said Ms. Palacio, who shared on the UN cluster approach as well as models of cooperation among NGOs in the Philippines context
Three experts from World Vision International, Richard Rumsey, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction & Community Resilience, Steve Goudswaard, Associate Director of Global Rapid Response Team, and Geoffrey Shepherd, Director of Regional Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs for Asia Pacific Regional Office, shared on World Vision’s relief principles and strategies for disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness. 
Mr. Rumsey shared with participants on how World Vision promotes risk reduction and community resilience in disaster prone areas.
“Even though we have improving forecasting technology, disasters still cannot always be predicted. We need to help communities build resilience,” Mr. Rumsey said, while emphasizing that the aim of building community resilience is to help community strengthen their ability to withstand the impacts of a natural disaster.
Mr. Goudswaard presented on disaster preparedness and response, which includes early warning signs, mitigation, preparedness, rehabilitation, and transition. 
On the second day of the conference, Mr. Shepherd offered insights and led discussions on humanitarian accountability and also on the UN cluster approach.


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