8th ECO Ministerial Conference on DRR held Virtually (March 17, 2021)

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The 8th ECO Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was held virtually on March 17, 2021. Interior Minister of Turkey H.E. Mr. Suleyman Soylu chaired the conference.  The meeting was jointly organized by Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Ministry of Interior of Turkey and ECO Secretariat. The Ministerial Conference was attended by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkey H.E. Mr.  Ismail Çatakli, Acting President of AFAD Mr. Hamza TASDELEN and ECO Secretary General H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour. Relevant Ministers/Deputy Ministers and representatives from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also attended the conference. President ECOSF Prof. Manzoor H. Soomro represented the Foundation in the Meeting.

In his speech at the conference, Mr. Soylu said that even the developed countries do not know what to do in the face of the epidemic disaster that has been forgotten for almost 200 years, which has led to migration, terrorism and violence in the first quarter of the 21st century. He further said that what has happened in the field of masks and vaccines shows the need for a new definition of globalization. Pointing out that an invisible virus caused a warning and serious travel restrictions all over the world and that the prosperous countries who thought they could overcome any problem, were the countries most affected by the epidemic. Mr. Soylu stated that the world should globalize not for money, but for security, peace and brotherhood.

Secretary General of ECO Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour appreciated the Ministry of Interior and AFAD of Turkey for hosting the event and thanked the honourable participants on attending the event. He emphasized the need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the disaster risk in ECO region.

The Ministers/Deputy Ministers/Representatives of other ECO Member Countries also highlighted the disaster risks of their respective countries and called for a comprehensive and result oriented efforts in the wake of COVID-19.

It is pertinent to mention that the ECO Region is one of the most disaster-prone regions of the world. Most countries in the Region are highly vulnerable to disasters such as; earthquakes, floods, landslides and droughts. Over the past two decades, there has been a steady increase in the incidence rate of disasters in the ECO Region. During 2000-2015, about 333 natural disasters were reported in ECO Region that cumulatively affected more than 70 million people. The majority of the 470 million ECO Region's inhabitants live in the moderate to very high risk earthquake hazard areas. During this period, assets damaging accounted for more than US$ 31 billion.

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