Workshop on Disaster Risk Mitigation in Palestine
(Launching the activities of the SASPARM project )
NNU, Nablus – Palestine
26 / 2 / 2013
According to the work plan of SASPARM, it was supposed to conduct a regional workshop on the 9th or the 10th month of the project period, i.e. in June or July 2013, where tens of concerned governmental and non-governmental organizations in Palestine could participate.
The preparations for this workshop did start through meetings conducted by the project coordinator with these organizations in January and February 2013. The purpose of these meetings was to introduce SASPARM and to the need to apply the seismic code in the design of the buildings. It was clear that these organizations were very much concerned and interestedin participating in the future activities of the project.
As mentioned above, it was planned to conduct the workshop according to the project work plan, but since the occasion of the visit of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction Ms. Margareta Wahlström, to Palestine on the 26th of February 2013, it was agreed between all parties to conduct the workshop as a conference during which SASPARM project activities has been launched. Furthermore, all parties agreed that the anticipation of the workshop with regard to the original time schedule was proficient for the project, given the opportunity to the governmental and non-governmental Palestinian organizations to get involved since the beginning.
2. Workshop Items
The workshop included four main sessions in addition to the opening ceremony. The description of the sections is given in the following.
2.1. Opening Ceremony in the Prince Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Theatre, Najah
University New Campus
Three talks have been given during the opening ceremony by :
- Prof. Rami Hamdallah, An Najah University President
- Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United
Nations for Disaster and Risk Reduction
-Dr. Barbara Borzi, the Head of Vulnerability and Territorial Management Section of Eucentre,
More than 630 people attended the opening ceremony, and it attracted the attention of several media like (An najah, Raya, alam,al sharq, Tareeq almahabe,palestine, amwaj,and ajial,alkhaleel voice, maan, and nablus tv, in addition to live covering by the Palestine TV (Watch this movie )
2.2 Workshop Sessions
It included four main sessions conducted in the Korean-Palestinian IT Institute of Excellence-conference hall.
First Session: Making Cities Resilient, World Disaster Reduction Campaign.
Chair: Ms. Margareta Wahlström
Second Session: Safer Schools and Safer Hospitals
Chair: Ahmad Al-Ramhi, Dean of Faculty of Engineering at NNU
Third session: SASPARM project (Support Action for Strengthening Palestinian- administrated Areas capabilities for Seismic Risk Mitigation) funded by EU - FP7 projects.
Chair Abdelhakim Al-Jawhari, CHF International.
Fourth Session: A panel session
Given the main objective of the workshop is to launch SASPARM activities, all available media were used in the invitations. The means used for the invitations and promotion for the workshop included:
- Official letters were sent by the university to all Palestinian ministries (see details).
- Invitations via e-mails and Facebook.
- The university Website and other related web site
- Advertisements through the three local newspapers (Alquds 21/2
- Advertisement through the local radio and TV stations through meetings and promoting
programs about the workshop main objectives.
The advertisements for the event certainly met the target since the workshop minutes and documents showed that the number of participants who attended the opening ceremony and to the sessions exceeded 630. Many governmental and non-governmental organizations participated such as:
- Palestinian ministries; Education, local government, public works and housing, health, interior affairs, agriculture, environmental, Transport and Communications.
- Representatives from many Municipalities (Nablus, Ramallah, Bireh, Jericho, Tulkarm, Qalqelia, Hebron) and governorates( Jericho, Nablus, Hebron, civil defence).
- Representatives from governmental and local and international non- governmental
organizations and the private sectors.( Council for Youth and Sports, National agency for
disaster risk mitigation, Palestinian Hydrology Group, Engineering association, Palestinian
Medical Relief Society,Friends of Environment Society, Red Crescent Society, Chamber of
Commerce and Industry.
- Representatives from the practitioner engineering firms from all west bank governorates.
- University professors as well as students.
4. The workshop and the Media
The workshop attracted media attention widely and this covered the different media which conducted many interviews, published many articles and passed on TV and radio programs. The audio-visual media which included ten radio stations and three TV stations as listed in the following:
- Newspapers: Al Quds, Al Ayyam and Al Haya aljadeda
- TVs: Palestine, Maan (Mix), Nablus,and Alquds Tv
- Radio: Palestine voice, An Najah voice, Ajial, Raya, Amwaj, Al-sharq, alam, Alkhaleel, Tariq Al mahabe, Palestine Polytechnic voice,Hayat.
5. Workshop impact on UNISDR
The workshop opening ceremony and the following sessions met also the attention of the UNISDR and it was promoted through articles and advertisements in all messages and websites related to UNISDR.
6. Conclusions and Recommendations
SASPARM project has as a main purpose to train young researchers, decision makers and practitioners to act in order to mitigate seismic risks to act in their profession in order to mitigate the seismic risk. Such a purpos matches perfectly with the main workshop outcomes that are listed in the following:
- Encourage cities to join the international campaign How to Make Cities More Resilient to Disasters.
- Give priority to the design and construction of earthquake resistant to public structures and to strategic structures (hospitals, schools and governmental buildings). Following the initiative of the ministry of education who was the first to adopts the seismic design in the schools and has all mechanisms to apply and follow up . Account for earthquake loadings in the design of both structural and nonstructural elements in buildings.
- Give special concern to the High Council for Civil Defense, given it is the highest legislative authority in the disaster risk reduction.
- Prepare detailed maps (micro zonation maps) for possible hazards which should include areas with possible landslide, high amplification factor, soil liquefaction, seismic faults and flood areas. …
- Commitment to adopt Hugo Framework for Action 2010-2015 (HFA) and adopt a national strategy towards disaster risk mitigation depending on HFA and to The Arabic Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2011-20120.
- Adopt mechanisms to implement the laws and legislations.