International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
October 13 marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and the MSB celebrates this by acknowledging our work with capacity development, strengthening countries and international actors' ability to prevent and manage crises and disasters. The MSB mandate is within the framework of the Swedish development aid policy and the European development agenda.
MSB aims at reducing the risks of human suffering and increasing the resilience of societies.
– We work with an inclusive partnership, where we together with our partners make use of experiences and existing methods. As well as having a lot to contribute with to the world around us, the MSB experts engaged as emergency personnel emphasise the value of being able to bring experience and knowledge back to the Swedish emergency context, says Johan Köhler, head of the Resilience Building section at MSB.
With focus on core competencies that exist within MSB and the Swedish crisis management system as a whole, the work aims at strengthening other countries and international actors, based on their own needs and capacities to prevent, manage and recover from crises and disasters. MSB provides support through the development of technical and functional capacity, but also through political and advisory support. MSB invests significant resources in integrating gender equality and environmental perspectives into all projects. The capacity developments projects usually extend over several years and can include supporting a national system or focus on specific or parts of organisations.
Great opportunities for mutual learning
MSB often employs expert staff with backgrounds from different parts of the Swedish crisis management system to lead the projects. This contributes to other perspectives on disaster risk management feeding back into the Swedish system at municipal, regional and national level.
– Sweden has developed a strong crisis preparedness over time and we have a lot to share, but we must not forget the amount of knowledge that exists in our partner countries who manage disasters more often than we do. We also aim at strengthening the cooperation with more actors in the Swedish crisis management system, in order to contribute to both national and international development, says Johan Köhler.
MSB often forms the efforts in consortia together with other European governmental agencies or organisations. The projects are mainly externally funded, by the EU or The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). At MSB, the Resilience building section has operations in Armenia, the Western Balkans, Iraq, Southeast Asia and within the Eastern Partnership, among others.
Leveraging ASEAN Capacities for Emergency Response
In the project Leveraging ASEAN Capacities for Emergency Response (LACER), MSB works at strengthening the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) in Jakarta, Indonesia. The overall objective is to strengthen capacity in disaster monitoring, preparedness and response. The aim is also to strengthen ASEAN's disaster response mechanism. The region is one of the world's most disaster-prone areas.
International Training Program
MSB's International Training Program for Disaster Risk Management (ITP DRM) helps reducing disaster risk through a continuous mentorship, by educating and supporting participants from Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nepal and Cambodia to implement changes they have defined for their organisation. The program includes disaster preparedness, response and post-disaster reconstruction.
In Iraq, MSB works with three sister agencies within the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government at national and local levels. The objective is to strengthen Iraq's ability to manage crises and prevent disasters. Iraqi authorities have extensive experience in working under high pressure and in the midst of ongoing crises. Therefore, there is a need and a desire to strengthen the work of planning and preparing before the crisis occurs and to analyse and reduce disaster risks where possible. Sweden has great opportunities to learn and benefit from the Iraqi experience of dealing with complex and protracted crises with scarce resources.
Covid-19 has affected the whole community, as well as the MSB's international work. To be able to start and run international resilience-building initiatives during an ongoing global crisis, MSB has been dependent on changing our working methods. One adjustment has been to find digital solutions that manages education and other capacity development methods. At the same time, we have faced a unique situation where the MSB and our partners around the world are going through the same crisis. This means that we can share experiences and support each other.
- The pandemic shows how important it is with prevention and emergency preparedness work and it has served as a strengthening force in our efforts, says Johan Köhler.
Reduces human suffering
MSB experiences an increased need for collaboration between actors throughout the disaster cycle, both within countries and between countries and regions. By implementing the Sendai framework, a global framework for disaster risk reduction agreed among countries, MSB contribute to the implementation of Swedish foreign policy and reduce the risks of human suffering in the long term.
– The Sendai framework is action-oriented and thereby highlights the human beings behind the disaster, says Johan Köhler.
Facts on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
October 13 marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, started by the United Nations to raise and promote risk awareness and disaster risk reduction on a global level. The day seeks to draw attention to how people and societies around the world work to reduce their exposure to disasters and to increase risk awareness. This year’s theme is ”good disaster risk governance” as part of the “Sendai seven” campaign, centered on the seven targets for the Sendai framework.