Tag Archives: dipecho

The disaster risk reduction programmes of the European Union are implemented to reduce the impact of natural disasters in particularly vulnerable areas. The regional programme for South Caucasus is under the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO) of the EU, which fourth phase was launched on 28 June 2016. The programme is being implemented by the Armenian Red Cross Society and OXFAM Armenia, in partnership with OxYGen foundation, UNICEF, UNDP, and Save the Children. It will run until the end of 2017 and be carried out in close collaboration with the Armenian Ministries of Emergency Situations, Science, Territorial Administration and Development, and the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The programme aims at making communities in areas prone to natural hazards less vulnerable, and to boost their resilience to natural and man-made hazards. The humanitarian partner organisations will work in Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Tavush, Armavir, Syunik marzes and Yerevan, with a special focus on the needs of children, women and persons with disabilities. DIPECHO partners are working in close collaboration with government stakeholders to include disaster management and risk reduction in national, regional and local emergency management; in the shorter term this will reduce reaction times when disaster strikes, and in the longer term reduce disaster risks. Through its large scope of activities, the programme will also strengthen cooperation in disaster risk reduction between other relevant national and regional structures in the South Caucasus.
13533341_1049708831749712_8371406029852970514_nThe Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian, talked about the EU’s commitment to support Armenia in risk reduction: ‘I have been in Armenia for a long time and this is not my first time at a DIPECHO launch. The EU has supported Armenia and its citizens in many different ways; safety is an important field of cooperation. When you learn something at school, you always come to the same idea – what I learned during my studies was that, on a long-term analysis of growth, what is important and what ensures sustainable long-term goals is how you manage risk. For example, when an earthquake or other natural disasters happen, it all hinges on what you did before it’.
Hamlet Hakobyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations, welcomed DIPECHO’s extension: ‘Just a few months ago we had the closing ceremony of the third phase of DIPECHO in this same hall. During that event, all of us highly appreciated the achivements of the project’s partner organisations, and special attention was paid to the format of cooperation formed between the ministries, the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform and the partner organisations. I hope that our efforts will continue and expand – today we witness the justification of our hopes, for which I congratulate all of us’.
Armenian Deputy Minister of Education and Science Manuk Mkrtchyan stressed the importance of this programme in Armenia: ‘When it comes to pupils and schools, we are implementing several projects on developing curricula in this area. The importance of this project is not only that we are working to create a safe learning process, but also including civil society, which is very important for pupils. They have an opportunity to engage with representatives of different sectors, talk to experts, and discuss important issues; all these have a very good impact on the educational process’.
This is the fourth phase of the DIPECHO programme in the South Caucasus. Since 2010, considerable efforts have been made to reduce the vulnerability of public schools, as well as special schools, pre-schools and child facilities. Support for disaster preparedness has been provided to target communities with the aim of increasing their capacity to protect lives and livelihoods and of mitigating the impact of disasters and climate change. In addition, evacuation, fire protection and other disaster risk reduction training activities have been conducted.

The 3rd ‘Public Awareness as a cornerstone of disaster risk reduction and sustainable development’ conference took place on 15-16 December 2015 in Yerevan. The event has become a tradition and is organised by the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
ARS_0011The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, was involved in opening the conference: ‘Many types of natural disaster characterise the South Caucasus region. I visited Gyumri two weeks ago and saw how people are still living in temporary housing, many many years after the earthquake, which was very sad. I am here to confirm the EU’s commitment to disaster risk reduction. We are trying to do our best here in the region. Two weeks ago we were at the closing event of the DIPECHO programme’s Phase 3; I saw how many activities had been carried out. I hope very much that we will move on to Phase 4 of DIPECHO. There is also another Eastern Partnership programme for disaster preparedness which we are implementing, which promotes civil protection preparedness in the region. We all agree how media are important for education – we don’t have to pursue the media to simply cover disasters when they happen. It is extremely important to involve media in the education process and preparation’.
The goal of the conference is to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures to prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, to increase preparedness for response and recovery, and to strengthen resilience.
Vache Terteryan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, stressed the government’s dedication to this issue: ‘Disaster risk reduction is one of the priorities for our government; it is included in action and development plans, as well as in government programmes. 21 Armenian cities have already signed the certificate to join the awareness campaign on risk reduction. After accepting the chart of the SENDAI framework for disaster risk reduction for 2015-2030, many activities have already been undertaken. We are always organising public awareness events to inform people about disaster risk reduction. This is through public events, radio, TV, and newspapers. There is a well-known mantra: “One who is informed is protected”. Therefore, we think that media can play a very important role in these issues’.

The close out event of the “Disaster Risk Reduction in Armenia” programme (DIPECHO Phase III) took place on 19 October 2015.
Launched in May 2014, the DIPECHO III in Armenia targeted Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor, Tavush marzes, as well as Yerevan, combining community-based activities with policy development work to develop and include disaster management and risk reduction in education and national security planning. Relevant stakeholders from central and local government were engaged in programme implementation to ensure the sustainability of programme interventions.
ARS_4332The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, congratulated all the partners on the successful implementation of the programme: ‘Armenia was one of the first countries where the European Commission started their humanitarian aid and civil protection programme. The programme that we are concluding today is the continuation of these first efforts. I am very happy to see that the authorities of Armenia have considered this programme an improvement and called it a success. It is proof that the EU is implementing projects valuable to Armenia and the Armenian people’.
The Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations,
Haykaram Mkhitaryan, talked about the efforts made as part of the programme: ‘We highly appreciate this programme, it is the result of great cooperation. Funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) and implemented by the Armenian Red Cross Society, Oxfam Armenia, UNICEF, Save the Children and UNISDR in collaboration with the Armenian Ministries of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, Education and Science, Labour and Social Affairs and the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform, the programme was aimed at increasing resilience and reducing the vulnerability of children and communities in areas prone to natural hazards. It’s undeniable that the level of disasters in the whole world is increasing and it is very important that people have the appropriate knowledge and skills to resist them. If there are still problems in developed countries, imagine what kind of problems there are in less-developed countries. We have successfully implemented this programme because all the work was undertaken according to effective planning. It would be wrong to say that we don’t need this kind of programme anymore, but what has been done up until now will prove very important for our country’.
ARS_4380The main outcomes of the programme included strengthening the capacity of local communities to identify and address the needs of most vulnerable populations in disaster risk reduction; building the capacities of children and schools in hazard-prone areas to better prepare for and respond to disasters; reflecting the needs and rights of the most vulnerable children (including children with special needs) in the national disaster risk reduction policy; integrating disaster risk reduction into educational curricula.
More specifically, in the six marzes and in Yerevan, 15 special schools, 2 day care centres, 6 child care institutions, 21 kindergartens, 10 public schools and 20 inclusive schools were targeted to reduce their vulnerability to disasters.
In Shirak, Vayots Dzor and Tavush marzes, support was provided to 34 communities to build their organisational and technical capacity to protect citizen’s lives and livelihoods from the impact of disasters and climate change. In Shirak marz, fire-protection capacity-building and awareness-raising activities were undertaken in 86 public schools.
Assistance was provided to service providers, communities and state institutions to develop and implement disaster risk reduction plans. Public awareness was enhanced, including among children, to encourage the application of simple security measures against disasters in various settings, including households.