New Coordinated Effort for Disaster Management

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Contact Information:
Marion Uzac, Press Secretary. E-mail:[email protected]
Sylvia Soon, Chief of Staff. E-mail: [email protected]

From September 8-12, 2008, thirty-five disaster management specialists and leaders in the area of Disaster Management (DM) from evangelical agencies in 22 countries came together for a “strategic conversation” in Bangkok to discuss improved capacity building, coordination and response in the face of disasters.

Hosted by the Micah Network, the meeting involved Integral Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) -- three significant evangelical bodies committed to working together to ensure better responses from evangelicals to global disasters, through relief and development agencies and local churches.

The three networks have been preparing for this discussion over the past 18 months by holding meetings and consultations of their constituents and beginning to explore the key challenges ahead. At the outset, two goals that were identified are to increase the understanding of the relative strengths and potential roles of the local church in disasters and emergencies and to explore how the Micah Network and its members should interact and work with the local church in such contexts.

Through a global process beginning with some of Micah Network’s South Asian members, and including several meetings between representatives from the three networks, four strategic objectives for achieving these aims were identified. They include building capacity of local communities and churches in the world’s most disaster-prone countries (to assist vulnerable people to prevent, prepare for and respond to the impact of disasters), supporting Micah Network member agencies towards a high quality disaster-management capability, facilitating effective mechanisms for Micah Network members in responding to requests for assistance during a major disaster, and establishing an effective Micah Network forum of members engaged in DM advocacy.

The purpose of the recent conversation is to refine the aforementioned objectives and to agree on the priorities on how to achieve them. Moreover, it is to build a shared vision, deepen the awareness and engagement with shared issues and formulate a plan with easy-to-follow steps.

The three networks, together, produced five key documents after a week-long intense conversation. Namely they are: the Belief Statement, the Principles for engaging local congregations in disaster response, Functions and advantages of a disaster management network of Christian communities, Cross-cutting issues in disaster management and the Strategic Objectives and Activities for the three year implementation plan.

These documents will be available on the Micah Network website (http://micahnetwork.org/) at the end of September.

“This initiative is a major step forward in a building a more cohesive and collaborative response in helping churches more effectively care for those who have been impacted by the calamity and pain of disasters,” commented Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director of WEA. “I think God will be honoured and more people helped through this important new partnership.”

Micah Network is a network of more than 500 Christian relief, development and justice organizations, churches and individuals, comprising more than 320 main members and 180 plus associate members from 76 countries. Integral Alliance is a global alliance of 14 Christian relief and development agencies, working together to present a more effective response to poverty worldwide. They both serve as Global Partners of the WEA.

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.