Dushanbe, 07 June 2016 - Under the rubric ‘prepare today, survive tomorrow’, UNDP’s EU-BOMNAF project, in collaboration with UNDP’s JICA-BMP project, recently implemented a joint Disaster Risk Management Training programme in Badakhshan. Supported by the project’s Disaster Risk Management Partner, ‘Rescue Global’, the activity was successfully delivered at the key Border Crossing Point (BCP) of Tem-Shegnan, on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border, from Mon 30 May to Fri 3 Jun 2016. The event was attended by 20 Afghan civilians, 45 Afghanistan Border Police (ABP) and 15 Tajikistan Border Force (TBF) Officers.

The training covered several different aspects of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and was delivered both at the ABP Border Crossing Point at Shegnan, Afghanistan as well as at the TBF Border Crossing Point, across the river in Tem, Tajikistan. Tajiks and Afghans together attended training on both sides.

The main aims included support to cross-border cooperation and communication between border agencies and borderlands communities and to raise awareness of Disaster Risk Management for people in remote communities within borderlands regions, who may be affected by such major incidents as earthquakes, floods, landslides and avalanches.

DRM expert Dr Alisho Shomahmadov, who has an extensive experience of conducting surveys in remote areas of Tajikistan, worked with Mr Colby Howard from Rescue Global. Colby, who is an expert in Disaster Risk Reduction and Response, has trained disaster management agency and emergency response personnel around the world, focusing on local capacity and capability growth.

In addition to delivering the latest techniques and research to project beneficiaries, Dr Alisho and Colby conducted a survey of all participants, the findings of which will prove very helpful in future trainings. They also ran Working Groups during which students discussed appropriate responses in the aftermath of natural disasters, focusing on events common to their area such as earthquakes and landslides.

Colby said, “Natural hazards significantly shape the lives of both Tajiks and Afghans in the border regions. We plan that, with this training, they will be better prepared to work with local border agencies in the aftermath of a disaster event. Our focus is on building cross-border relationships through awareness, preparedness and adaptation to disasters. And we’ve successfully done that here in Shegnan and Tem”.

UNDP’s Project Manager, Mr William Lawrence, stated ‘as a cooperative event, this has been a great success. Borderlands communities are often self-sufficient in many ways and it has been our privilege to bring communities from both sides to be educated together about being prepared for what might happen tomorrow or without warning at any time. Afghanistan’s Border Police and officers from Tajikistan’s Border Force have taken this opportunity to meet each other, in the field and on the ground where they may one day have to work together to mitigate the effects of an earthquake or other natural disaster. Both sides have shown enthusiasm in working together and the event has been a real achievement for local communities in both countries. With support from national governments and local officers, as well as people on both sides of the Amu Darya River, it is our firm intention to repeat such training, centred around other crossing points on this border.

For further details, please contact William LAWRENCE, BOMNAF Project Manager at william.lawrence@undp.org.