The Eighth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 18-19 December 2005 decided to add Environment and Disaster Management as one of the priority areas of cooperation of BIMSTEC. Disaster Management has now become a high priority area of cooperation for BIMSTEC as the region is amongst the most disaster prone regions in the world and is home to almost one fourth of the World’s total population. India is the Lead Country for the sector.
During the 1st BIMSTEC Summit, India proposed cooperation in information sharing on Remote Sensing for the purpose of agricultural, environmental, and catastrophe management. Additionally, India has put forward a plan to establish the BIMSTEC Centre on Weather and Climate in New Delhi. The Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the establishment of BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate (BCWC) was signed in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 04 March 2014 at the Third BIMSTEC Summit.
Objectives of establishing this centre are:
- To promote and encourage cooperation between BIMSTEC member countries in identified areas of fundamental and applied scientific research in weather prediction and climate modeling.
- To promote scientific capacity building in weather and climate research.
- To encourage and assist the publication of important results of research obtained within the framework of the BIMSTEC cooperation on weather and climate.
The Centre has been functioning in National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.
The Leaders of BIMSTEC at their Retreat in Goa, India on 16 October 2016 encouraged closer cooperation in disaster management through joint exercises, sharing of information including early warning system, adoption of preventive measures, joint action on relief and rehabilitation, and capacity building. The Leaders also agreed to build on the existing capacities in the region and to explore the possibility of establishing partnerships with other regional and international entities in this sector. During the informal consultations at the Retreat, the Honourable Prime Minister of India suggested to undertake BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise annually.
Accordingly, the First BIMSTEC Annual Disaster Management Exercise was held in New Delhi, India on 10-13 October 2017. A total number of 19 representatives from each of the Member States participated in the Exercise. The main Exercise consisted of three components, i.e., Table Top Exercise (TTX), Field Training Exercises (FTXs) on Earthquake and Flood and an After Action Review (AAR). Some of the recommendations that have emerged subsequent to the Exercise are: participation of women in Disaster Response Mechanism, emphasis on psycho-social-trauma care, replication of ICS, gender consideration during evacuation and rehabilitation, utility of Civil Military Coordination Centre, religious aid to motivate the affected people, importance of maintaining Law & Order in the affected area to avoid human trafficking and other post-disaster crimes.