UN collaborates with Iranian authorities to upgrade its Disaster Risk Preparedness and Management and boosting international cooperation
Iran is located in a disaster-prone region, and faces many natural disasters every year; from storms and floods to earthquakes. In recent years, climate change has increased the probability, frequency and intensity of these disasters; tropical storms in Sistan and Baluchestan last year, and floods and sand and dust storms this year are just some examples. Hence, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) is a critical approach that should be adopted to ease the sufferings and decrease the cost of natural disasters for Iranians.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has a high capacity to deal with disasters on a large scale, and the United Nations in Iran has also continuously expressed its willingness to support the government in this area. Iran can benefit from international knowledge, expertise and lessons-learned in response to disasters, while also sharing its own knowledge with the international community. As a result, international cooperation can be a beneficial attempt to improve DRRM activities in Iran.
In order to facilitate such international engagement, on 6 September 2022, the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in a meeting with the head of Tehran Disaster Mitigation and Management Organization (TDMMO), the Director of MFA Natural Disaster’s Office and head of the International Relations Department of the National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) discussed international cooperation in the field of disaster management.
The participants reviewed challenges and capacities in response to disasters in order to strengthen international cooperation in this regard. Training for two Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams, the required items to equip the teams, as well as membership of Iran in the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) were discussed in the meeting. INSARAG is a network of disaster-prone and disaster-responding countries and organizations, which facilitate and coordinate the operations of USAR teams in the disaster zones, and has a critical role in disaster risk reduction and management. Iran can use this capacity, to reduce the costs of potential disasters and find sustainable solutions. As Iran has good capacity in search and rescue operations, it can also positively contribute to INSARAG. In this regard, supporting the participation of Iranian representatives in regional and global earthquake maneuvers, providing technical support to the TDMMO in response to disasters in the city of Tehran and exploring the possibility of providing needed equipment from potential donors were mentioned in the meeting as well. The operationalization of joint projects was another item in the meeting’s agenda.
Both NDMO and TDMMO, along with the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) play crucial roles in Iran’s disaster management system. These organizations are both responsible for strategic planning in the pre-disaster, and executive actions in the post-disaster phases. For sure, the Iranian DRRM system can use technical knowledge, equipment’s and direct aids provided by the international community, and on the other hand, provide other countries with its own expertise. Therefore, facilitating international cooperation in this area is an important step, which UN has progressively taken.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs