SCO Joint Exercise -2019

Approximately 40% of the global population lives in the region that forms the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. With about 22% of the global geographical area, the region contributes 20 % to the global GDP. As the region represents today's fastest growing economies in the world, it is natural that SCO countries - Republic of India, Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan - come together to reduce their disaster risks.

During the 9th meeting of the Heads of Departments of SCO countries dealing with the prevention and elimination of emergency situations, held at Kyrgyzstan in August, 2017, India volunteered to organize the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue- 2019" for the region. In line with that, a four-day exercise was conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency from November 4-8, 2019 in New Delhi.

Inaugurating the exercise, Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah said that this joint exercise will be very useful for improving the collective preparedness and building a common understanding of internationally recognized procedures to co-ordinate post-earthquake responses. Establishing the centrality of SCO Nations in tackling disasters, Shri Shah said that none of the global targets on reducing disaster losses - whether they are enshrined in the Sendai Framework or Sustainable Development Goals - can be met by 2030, unless achieved by the SCO countries.

The aim of the exercise was “to also provide an opportunity to enhance the coordination and cooperation involving multiagency operations in an earthquake scenario". Internationally recognized procedures were used during joint search and rescue exercises. In addition, participants also shared best practices to strengthen regional response system, mutual cooperation and coordination.

Mongolia participated in the exercise as an observer. In addition representatives from International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) also participated in this simulation exercise.

Addressing the participants at the Valedictory Session, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, said that organizing such exercises will boost our process and standardization and strengthen response efficiency.

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