‘Odisha has been a leader in disaster management, it is gearing to be leader in risk-informed development’, says Bishnupada Sethy, SRC

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Bhubaneswa: Saying that ‘Changing scale, type and scope of disasters is giving more surprises now’, Special Relief Commissioner of Odisha Mr. Bishnupada Sethy emphasised that ‘there is no way that we can ignore risks and yet expect to reduce disaster distresses. Mr. Sethy was addressing in the inaugural session of two-day long state level consultation on ‘Risk Informed Development’ which started at Bhubaneswar on Friday. Senior officials government departments, district level offices associated with planning and disaster management, scientists and experts, civil society representatives working on disaster risk reduction discussed on the need and ways to integrate risks in planning and development action. The consultation focussed on eight important sectors – Health, Water, Sanitation, Education, Child Protection, Livelihoods, Food Security, Shelter & Infrastructure.
The consultation was jointly organised by Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), UNICEF, IAG and Oxfam India. The inaugural session on Friday – presided over by former member of Board of Revenue Dr. Aurobindo Behera, and addressed by Mr. Gagan Dhal, Agriculture Production Commissioner; Mr. Bishnupada Sethy, Founder Member of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), UNICEF’s state head Ms. Monica Nelson – set the tone for the two-day long consultation.
Top officers including Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhala; Principal Secretary of Agriculture department Dr. Sourabh Garg; Senior officials of other departments; national and international experts like Prof. Vinod Menon; Prof. Chandran Ghosh of National Institute of Disaster Management; Director General of ICAR Dr. Trilochan Mahapatra; agriculture scientist and gene activist Ms. Suman Sahai; Dr. Somnath Hazra; Mr. P K Das; Mr. Pankaj Anand, Director of Oxfam India, UNICEF’s sector experts Dr. Vivek Virender Singh, Mr. Laxminarayan Nanda, Ms. Sipra Saxena; and other experts and researchers provided leads for discussion in the consultation.
Dwelling on the backdrops of recent disasters and briefing on the objective of the consultation, Regional Manager of Oxfam India Mr. Akshaya Biswal said that development initiatives can affect us both ways as poor integration of risks will increase our disaster distress and good integration of risks will reduce our disaster risks; and hence this consultation expects to speed up coordinated actions to identify and integrate risks. Different sessions were moderated by Dr. Ambika Nanda, former UNDP state head and current CSR head of Tata Steel; Ms. Abha Mishra, UNDP state head; Ms. Kirti Mishra, chief of CRS; Dr. Vivek Virender Singh of UNICEF; and Mr. Manoranjan Behera, coordination of IAG-Odisha.

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