At the outset, I feel proud to inform our readers that NCDM is observing its 20th anniversary this year. NCDM is one of the few pioneering organizations established in Nepal mainly devoted to work in the areas of Disaster Management (DM). In the last few decades, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in DM and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) world-wide. DM has now got firm foothold as an established field of multidisciplinary subject and has also gained respect as a stand-alone subject in Academic institutions and training programs. DM has also emerged as a focused priority agenda in many countries as the frequency and severity of disasters have significantly increased and impacted lives and livelihoods of millions of people every year. The severity of hydro-meteorological disasters that include flood, cyclone (hurricane), landslide, extreme temperature and draught etc. is now unequivocally accepted as a consequence of climate change. Nepal had also suffered from a number of mega-disasters such as the Gorkha Earthquake of 2015 and many floods and landslides occurring almost every year. Nepal is not an exception to be impacted by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which has shattered the entire humanity, and the world is still fighting against it.
In our 20 years of existence, it is now time to reflect on our achievements and shortcomings. I feel happy to mention some of NCDM’s key achievements. The Natural Calamity Relief Act 1982 was truly out of date that focused mainly on the rescue and relief operations. Hence, a new proactive Act that would encompass the whole gambit of DM viz, Mitigation, preparedness, Response and Recovery, equipped with an independent effective organizational structure was in dire need. After over two years of exercise and having a country-wide consultation among stakeholders, NCDM drafted a completely new bill that encompassed the whole aspect of DM, and also prepared a Disaster Management Policy. The draft bill was handed over to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Policy was to the National Planning Commission in 2007 for further action. After years of engagement, lobbying, persuasion, meetings and workshops, finally the “Disaster Risks Reduction and Management Act, 2017” been enacted by the Government. We feel happy to mention that our effort was materialized with further inputs on the draft bill and policy by respective Government agencies and all stakeholders
NCDM provided the Constituent Assembly Secretariat with a draft on Disaster provisions to be included in the forthcoming new Constitution. Today, Nepal is fully equipped with all the legal instruments required for an effective DM in the country such as the new Act, the National Policy, the Strategy and the new apex organization – National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) to professionally carry out provisions of these legal instruments. Thus, the immediate agenda now is to focus on effective and coordinated implementation by all levels of government and the DM actors to minimise the loss of lives and properties in the country. As Nepal is a hotspot of natural disasters, DM must be a dominant national priority and inherently be a part of all development projects for sustainable development.
NCDM had been the pioneer organisation to organize pre-monsoon consultation workshops on preparedness for the upcoming disasters starting from 2003. After a series of such events organized every year, the task was handed over to the DPNet-Nepal. NCDM has also remained in the forefront to develop new methods, techniques and appropriate technology in diverse areas of DM, mainly the flood, fire, landslide stabilization, early warning system and retrofitting of rural buildings with earthquake-resistant features. These technologies have been experimented and replicated in many parts of the country and have been highly commended. Our colleagues also have been contributing regularly through engagements and advice during large-scale disasters faced by the country. NCDM has always been in the forefront in organizing training, seminars, workshops and prepared disaster preparedness plans for many districts and individual organizations.
In the end, I would like to sincerely thank all our partners, friends and well-wishers particularly, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, NDRRMA, DP Net-Nepal, NGOs and INGOs who have encouraged and helped us in this endeavor to make Nepal a country safe from disasters. We do hope for their continued help and encouragement in the days to come.