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Learning from Mega Disasters

October 7, 2011

Japan and the World Bank partner to share knowledge on disaster risk management with countries around the world

TOKYO, October 7, 2011 – The Government of Japan (GoJ) and the World Bank today have launched Learning from Mega Disasters: A Program of Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Exchange, which will help Japan share its lessons from disaster risk management and reconstruction with the rest of the world.
The March 11 earthquake that hit the Tohoku region along the pacific coast of Japan was the fourth largest in the world. The subsequent tsunami washed away many medium and small sized towns and villages along the shore, resulting in a huge numbers of human casualties and left devastation in its wake.
It is globally recognized the loss of life and damage could have been far greater had it not been for Japan's disaster risk management policies and measures which are cutting edge. In this context, the GoJ and the World Bank have launched a collaborative project designed to share Japan’s knowledge on disaster risk management and reconstruction with developing countries. The project will run for two years, and an interim report will be made available for the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings to be held in Japan next year.
“Disaster risk management is a critical component in development strategies/policies,” said Yasushi Kinoshita, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Finance of Japan, in his address at the opening session of the high-level workshop. “The World Bank and Japan have been closely working together in the area of disaster risk management. The Government of Japan, by mobilizing expertise in disaster risk management, is fully committed to work with the World Bank through this two-year joint project.”
The World Bank Institute (WBI) was requested to provide support on the knowledge exchange project, through Learning from Mega Disasters, which will collect data and facts about damage and loss, disseminate the information to practitioners around the world, and facilitate mutual learning and cooperation in building resilient societies by drawing on Japan’s long experience in dealing with mega disasters.
“The Learning from Mega Disasters program is fully aligned with WBI’s role as a global connector of knowledge, learning, and innovation focused for capacity development,” said Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President, WBI. “Access to information, data and lessons learnt are crucial in the disaster risk management world. Open access to data together with access to training and a community of practice where experts can share views, discuss new topics, upload documents and add comments and suggestions, can be transformative. This can help to ensure that countries are as well prepared for a disaster as humanly possible and in turn save lives and livelihoods.”
The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), has been leading the overall collaborative effort on the Bank side since the March 11 disaster, and working on the knowledge sharing project together with WBI.
"This partnership will enable Japan to turn the lessons learned from its recent disaster and its long experience in dealing with extreme events into an opportunity for countries to better integrate disaster risk reduction and resilience into development plans and investments,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, the Manager of the GFDRR. "As one of the founding members of the GFDRR, Japan has been instrumental in helping to build resilience in countries that are disaster hotspots around the world."
This will be a “living program”, where international and Japanese experts together with practitioners in developing countries can actively contribute to the shaping of new and effective disaster risk management measures and policies for the world.

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