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Commissioner Georgieva recognizes volunteers’ contribution to resilience building in Haiyan-affected areas

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group1(From left) Efrath Silver, Arnoud Keizer, Commissioner Georgieva, Monika Beutel and  Benjamin Konig Copyright Marilyn Santiago, VSO Bahaginan (Philippines)

"We cannot stop disasters from happening but we can prevent them from killing more people,” International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva declared during a press conference for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management held at Diamond Hotel, Manila on 5 June.

As part of a visit to Tacloban, the area affected by typhoon Hayian in November 2013, Commissioner Georgieva met with Efrath Silver, Arnoud Keizer, Monika Beutel and Benjamin Konig, all VSO EU Aid Volunteers who are taking part in DG ECHO’s pilot volunteers initiative.

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The EU Aid Volunteers and the commissioner discussed the work on disaster resilience in the Philippines and Commissioner Georgieva talked about how impressed she was with the way people have coped following typhoon Haiyan. She stressed the role of national and local government as well as strong civil society organizations that have helped the affected communities move quickly from disaster relief to rehabilitation and recovery. She also emphasised the strength of local volunteerism and the role volunteering has played in ensuring a rapid process of rebuilding.

The VSO EU Aid volunteers explained their work with Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) and the DREAM Program (Disaster Risk Exposure Assessment for Mitigation) of the Department of Science and Technology, which is part of the EUAV Program on Resilience Building. The volunteers outlined how they are engaging in capacity building by working with the management and technical staff of NOAH-DREAM program on Flood Modelling, Project Management, Information Technology and Institutional Development.

Speaking to the volunteers in Manila, Commissioner Georgieva said she was impressed by their contribution to disaster preparedness and mitigation.

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“Every dollar, euro or peso spent on disaster preparation is returned seven-fold if the disaster is avoided or mitigated “ she told them.

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Kazakh president sets out five priorities for #Kazakhstan’s 'Third Stage of Modernization' 

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In his annual address to the nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, announced five main priorities as part of what he described as “Kazakhstan’s third stage of modernization”. The priorities are aimed at ensuring economic growth and supporting the country to become one of the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050.

The five priorities are: Acceleration of technological modernization of the economy, improved business environment, macroeconomic stability, improved quality of human capital and institutional reforms, including improved security and more action to tackle corruption.

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President Nazarbayev said in his annual address: “I am setting the task of ensuring the implementation of the Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create a new model of economic growth that will ensure the country's global competitiveness.”

He added: “This modernization is not a plan to combat current global challenges, but a reliable bridge to the future, to meet the objectives of Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. It will be carried out on the basis of the 100 Concrete Steps Plan of the Nation.”

The Head of State also instructed the Government to developa package of measures for the technological re-equipment of basic industries by 2025.

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The annual address followed a special announcement given by the President last week, in which he set out bold plansto increase the powers of parliament. President Nazarbayev stated that these constitutional reforms are aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan, as the Government will be accountable to parliament.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has proposed a constitutional reform aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan. During a special televised address to the nation on 25 January, the President announced a number of functions that would be transferred either to the Government or Parliament. Public discussions on the proposed constitutional reforms will take place for the next month, concluding on 26 February. After this, the reforms will be presented to Parliament.