Central Asian Regional Conference on School Earthquake Safety and Disaster Education
17 Sep 2008 - 18 Sep 2008
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

This two day conference was aimed at providing a platform to disseminate the lessons of the project, to share the experiences in the region, and to develop regional strategies to promote school safety and disaster education.

The objectives are to;
a) Share knowledge and experiences of school earthquake safety at the national and regional level.
b) Identify good practices in integrating disaster risk reduction in developing school safety programs.
c) Identify the policy issues for institutionalization of school safety into national development programs, resource allocation for making safe school buildings, and capacity building for dissemination and adaptation of appropriate technologies in the context of the Central Asian countries.
d) Define the challenges, critical needs and opportunities in implementing the school earthquake safety in the Central Asian countries.

Resolution of the Conference

The conference has been successful in underscoring the importance of school safety and disaster risk reduction.

The approach being followed in Uzbekistan for assessment of nearly 10,000 schools, risk reduction initiatives in prioritized schools and initiatives to improve overall quality of education, which emphasized risk reduction as most important and urgent priority of the President and Government of Uzbekistan, can be a model for other countries.

The pilot project on "Reducing Vulnerability of School Children on Earthquakes" initiated by UNCRD in Fiji, India, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan which includes the components of retrofitting, capacity building, awareness raising and dissemination of good practices, has been instrumental in realizing the importance of schools in disaster risk reduction.

The conference marked positive results obtained in Uzbekistan from the project which was actively supported by the Mayor's office of City of Tashkent, the State Committee for Architecture and Construction of the Republic of Uzbekistan, "UzLITTI", "Tashgiprogor", "Tashzhilproekt", "Chegaraloyiha", "Uzmemorkurilishloyiha", builders and NGO "HAYOT" and others.

The conference noted the positive experience gained in other countries of Central Asia: Kazahstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgystan, as well as the UN International Organizations and Duhanbe UNISDR, in partial developments of the security of school buildings and school children, including;

1) Experiences of KazNIISSA Institute (Almaty) for the full-scale dynamic tests of various buildings' constructive systems to assess and improve their seismicity
2) Experiences of Tajikistan and Kyrgystan on a massive survey of existing school buildings built with their seismic classification;
3) Experiences of all participating countries to create training manuals and recommendations for school-children.

Good practices in Uzbekistan by the President and Government in ensuring the safety of schools in earthquakes, is a good example for other countries and a significant step in realizing strategic priorities of HFY 2005-2015 for sustainable development of the country.

Further actions of Central Asian countries should focus on close cooperation and exchange of positive experiences on seismic risk assessment of school buildings, for the development of effective measures to reduce vulnerability against frequent and strong earthquakes.

There is a need for bringing media in the mainstream of disaster risk reduction network to create awareness and inform the society about the problems of the risk from earthquakes and other natural disasteres, and to promote good practices for disaster risk reduction.
In order to disseminate the experiences of Uzbekistan and other countries, the conference documents, including compilation of drawings of strengthened school buildings, should be published in English and Russian.
There is a need to prepare and issue a methodical manual to assist countries wishing to improve the condition of school buildings based on the experience of Uzbekistan.

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