Towards a Safer World Calls for Inclusive, Whole-of-Society Approach to Disaster Management

New book introduced today spotlights benefits of creating strong linkages between partners from different sectors for future disaster planning and response

Sep 12, 2011, 14:35 ET from Towards A Safer World

ROME, Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new book released today, government, military, civil society, and private sector leaders are challenged to help unify experiences and resources in order to successfully manage and mitigate the impact of future global disasters by learning from recent pandemic response efforts.

"Beyond Pandemics: A Whole-of-Society Approach to Disaster Preparedness" outlines the human, economic and societal benefit of increasing collaboration, planning and dialogue across the whole of society. This can include partners in travel, animal health, business, global health and civil-military response teams.

"Most authorities agree that the world is not ready for a severe influenza pandemic. The best way to prepare is to engage multiple sectors in order to ensure an effective and timely response," said UN Senior Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza and author, David Nabarro. "The countries that have done best involve many government departments, a broad range of businesses, and civil society in preparedness planning: their challenge, now, is to sustain this approach for all health-related crises through sustainable, holistic and adequately funded systems."

Nabarro continued, "To the best of my knowledge this is the first time that these multiple experiences have been brought together - and analyzed - in one document: it is sure to be useful  to all involved in 'whole-of-society' crisis preparedness."

Drawing from research, lessons and input compiled across the key sectors that played a role in recent pandemic response efforts over the last five years, including the H5N1, H1N1 pandemic influenza of 2009 and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), "Beyond Pandemics" compiles the findings of leading global technical specialists across society. The book highlights critical observations gained from this holistic approach and outlines the applicability of these lessons to broader disaster preparedness efforts, including:

  • Forging strong linkages between non-traditional partners from different sectors - the whole of society - proved to be a successful approach.
  • The model and lessons that private sector business can bring to national preparedness plans, which are still weak in business continuity planning.
  • The challenge of preparing for pandemics is no longer the principal domain of the health sector.
  • There are many parallels in preparedness regardless of the specific emergency. The concept of an all-hazards approach to disaster management and emergency response is increasingly recognized as a way to integrate planning for epidemics and outbreaks into larger emergency planning efforts.
  • Universal support of the need for a global dialogue to encourage a more sustainable planning framework that does not depend on the highly uncertain risk of a pandemic, reduces confusion of different structures, and is more easily incorporated into standard operating procedures.

Free copies of "Beyond Pandemics: A Whole-of-Society Approach to Disaster Preparedness" are available now for download at www.towardsasaferworld.org

In an effort to generate ongoing discussion and application of the findings presented in the book, this week, TASW will host global leaders and agencies at a conference in Rome, Italy to address the key lessons outlined in the book and engage participants in interactive panel dialogues about the critical disaster management issues faced by society today. Conference panels will explore topics including: Communications; Partnerships, planning and simulations; Resource mobilization and coordination; Human and animal health; Community level and humanitarian preparedness; Private sector preparedness; and Measurement of results.

The Towards a Safer World Conference will take place on 15 - 16 September, 2011, at the Rome Marriott Park Hotel, via ColonnelloTommaso Masala, 54 Rome, 00148 Italy.

About Towards A Safer World
Led by the United Nations System for Influenza Coordination (UNSIC) and implemented by representatives from the United States Agency for International Development, World Food Programme, World Health Organization, World Tourism Organization, and Food and Agriculture Organization, Towards A Safer World has examined what has worked and what has not in disaster and pandemic preparedness and response since 2005 and is disseminating these findings to help disaster professionals and non-disaster experts in better planning, coordinating and responding to all types of disasters.

For more information, please visit http://www.towardsasaferworld.org

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