VI. International Cooperation in Disaster Prevention and Reduction
Adopting an open and cooperative attitude, China takes an active part in international efforts in the area of disaster reduction, in the construction and improvement of an international cooperative disaster-reduction mechanism, in building up a worldwide capacity in this regard, and in providing mutual aid with other countries in major natural disasters.
China has actively taken part in disaster-reduction cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, and has built up close partnership relations with many UN organizations, including the UN Development Program, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UN World Food Program, UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the UN Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space. In March 2006, China donated US$1 million to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. In November of the same year, the Chinese government and UN organization in China jointly held a symposium on emergency aid in retrospective of the Indian Ocean tsunami, reviewing the use of China's multilateral emergency aid. China has worked with the Inter-national Strategy Committee for Disaster Reduction in establishing the International Centre for Drought Risk Reduction, and has involved in the work of the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) and has been proactive in setting up its Beijing Office. Experts sent from China have joined the UN disaster evaluation team, repeatedly undertaking UN tasks. Actively involved with the advisory country connected with UN international search and rescue activities, China has been vigorously promoting global cooperation in the aspect of disaster emergency relief, and hosted the UN's Asian-Pacific area earthquake emergency response practice in 2006.
China has played an active role in building up a dialogue and exchange platform for disaster reduction between Asian countries. In September 2005, the Chinese government hosted the first Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, which adopted the Beijing Action Plan for Reducing Disaster Risks in Asia and laid the basis for further cooperation between Asian countries in this regard. An active participant in the second and third Asian ministerial conferences, China, together with its Asian neighbors, was constructive in formulating the Delhi Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia 2007, and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction 2008. In December 2008, China held a symposium on strengthening Asian countries" capability for coping with calamitous disasters.
China sets great store by discussing the signing of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements on disaster prevention and reduction, and by human resources development and cooperation in this regard. In May 2005, China held a human resources training class on disaster prevention and reduction for countries suffering from the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. In May 2006, China hosted a China-ASEAN seminar on disaster prevention and reduction in Beijing. In 2007, China hosted a symposium on emergency response and disaster relief of ASEAN and Asian countries, a seminar on disaster risk management and a seminar on post-disaster reconstruction. China is actively involved in ASEAN's activities for disaster management, attending various kinds of symposiums sponsored by ASEAN, observing emergency response exercises, and discussing proactively the formation of a China-ASEAN cooperative agreement and action plan.
China has promoted inter-governmental cooperation in disaster relief among the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. In April 2002, leaders of emergency relief departments of the SCO member states held their first meeting in Russia's St. Petersburg. In April 2003, an expert conference was held in Beijing to discuss the Inter-Governmental Mutual Aid Agreement among SCO Member States. In October 2005, this Agreement was signed in Moscow. In November 2006, the second such meeting was held in Beijing, and adopted the 2007-2008 Action Plan for Mutual Aid in Disaster Relief among SCO Member States, which laid the framework for carrying out activities in disaster relief communications, information exchange, disaster relief in border areas, personnel training and technological exchanges. In September 2007, leaders of emergency relief departments of SCO member states held their third meeting in Bishkek, discussing the implementation of the agreement on disaster relief co-operation and furthering such cooperation. The SCO member states also decided to set up the SCO Natural and Man-made Disaster Relief Center. In late September 2008, China hosted the first meeting of the heads of border areas among SCO member states in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The meeting reached a consensus on issues concerning disaster relief cooperation in the border areas of SCO member states, expediting the establishment of a joint disaster-relief action mechanism in border areas, and information ex-changes and personnel training.
In coping with major natural disasters, China has engaged in mutual support and aid with the international community. After the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, China provided the largest emergency aid in its history, totaling 687.63 million yuan, to the affected countries and related UN agencies. It also promptly dispatched an international rescue team and a medical team to Indonesia. On August 29, 2005, hurricane "Katrina" hit the southern part of the United States. The Chinese government provided a relief fund of US$5 million to the United States, together with a batch of emergency aid materials. After an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked Pakistan on October 8, 2005, the Chinese government sent emergency humanitarian aid worth US$26.73 million to that country. From October 9 to November 29, Chinese airplanes carried disaster relief materials on 26 flights to Pakistan, and Chinese international emergency rescue teams and medical teams were dispatched to the quake-hit areas. In 2008, after the strong tropical storm "Nargis" hit Myanmar, the Chinese government sent emergency aid materials worth US$1 million to Myanmar, which was followed by relief funds of 30 million yuan and US$10 million, as well as a medical team.
After the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, China received much support from the international community. Over 170 countries and regions, as well as more than 20 international organizations, provided funds totaling over 4.4 billion yuan and large batches of relief materials to China. Professional rescue and medical teams came from Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore to help with the emergency relief ef-forts in the affected areas. Nine medical teams with a total of 223 medical and technical workers were sent by the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, Italy, France, Cuba, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Red Cross of Germany to participate in medical aid in the disaster-stricken areas of Sichuan and Gansu provinces. In Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, one of the worst-hit areas, 16 volunteers from countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico started their rescue work immediately after their arrival. A UK rescue group of ten volunteers also came to search for victims and the missing in the same areas. Many satellites, such as ALOS of Japan, COSMO-SkyMed of Italy and LandSat of the United States, offered remote-sensing images of the quake-hit areas. The Chinese government and people are deeply grateful for all this help.