TACLOBAN CITY- A technical working group (TWG) is to be formed by the United Nations Development Assistance Framework to ensure that areas hit by a disaster could immediately respond and recover. The disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction (DP/DRR) TWG is a parallel measure of the United Nations to the government’s Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) where “risk reduction and building back better” is cited as top priority. Sudhir Kumar, a DRR specialist from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that there are reasons why the TWG was formed. One of which is the vulnerability of the Philippines to typhoons, including the risk reconfigured by number of drivers like climate change and skewed development. Another potential threat is unplanned development in urban areas like Tacloban and its adjacent LGUs that are also bent on developing. Kumar emphasized the need for coordinated effort in DRR like what our neighboring countries like Vietnam and Myanmar have done to avert future disasters. The primary objectives for the TWG is to bring synergy on DP and DRR interventions by humanitarian and development actors and making the group act as a platform for knowledge exchange on DP and DRR. Kumar said that this can be achieved through periodic meeting of the working group members and if possible, pooling of resources. Another is to provide a 3W (who does; what and where) for all actors to avoid duplication and potential conflicts. Meanwhile, Blanche Gobenciong, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense, said that international and local partners are most welcome to emphasize efforts in reaching out to the communities so that they may be aware of potential risks and how to avert it. “Let us help each other. You will learn a lot from the government and at the same time, the government will also learn a lot from you,” Gobenciong said while addressing UN personnel and international NGOs during one of the working group’s workshops. (REGIN OLIMBERIO, Communitere)