The Team-Up project focused on strengthening the institutions and processes of Turkey’s National Disaster Management Agency (AFAD).
At the end of September, one of NIRAS’s flagship projects in Turkey ‒ Technical Assistance to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in Strengthening the Institutional Capacity and Improving the Disaster and Emergency Management System ‒ came to an official end at a closing ceremony held for delegates and stakeholders. Nicknamed “Team-Up”, the project was co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey. A consortium led by NIRAS IC Sp. z.o.o. handled the implementation.
Team-Up was a mega-project designed to launch a variety of sub-projects during its two-year run and to encourage further sub-projects to be launched under AFAD after Team-Up’s completion. The main goal driving Team-Up was to strengthen AFAD’s institutional capacity and improve its disaster and emergency management system.
In his keynote speech at the closing ceremony, Project Director Adam Iwaszko stated, “I believe this project that we had started three years ago has made an important contribution to Turkey becoming more resistant to disasters and developing a more resilient disaster management system. This project is the most special and original among other projects I have carried out.” @Photo Team Up
The process of becoming more resilient to disasters is crucial to Turkey’s future, as its unique geological, climactic, topographical, and geopolitical conditions continually put it at risk. It was due to these risks that AFAD was launched in 2009, with the mandate of preventing disasters and minimizing disaster-related damages, planning and coordinating post-disaster responses, and promoting cooperation among various governing agencies.
Team-Up played a key role in improving and strengthening AFAD’s response and risk management systems, thus allowing the already developing ministry to have an even larger impact when it comes to managing disasters and emergencies. Lorenzo van Wijk, Team-Up’s project team leader, spoke at the closing ceremony and said that every time they engaged in an activity, they approached it from the view point of “How can we make sustainably contributions to AFAD?” Using this approach, Team-Up reached 600 people through 42 training programs, 450 people in 16 workshops, and 63 people who went on five paid working excursions in Europe.
The project also forms part of a larger accession process, where the Republic of Turkey is working to align various institutions and political, administrative, judicial, and legal systems with those of the European Union’s Acquis Communautaire. AFAD’s humanitarian activities especially drew praise at the closing ceremony. “This project, by prioritizing preparedness and risk reduction, aims to turn Turkey into a disaster-resistant country and contributes to the development of an effective disaster management system. Turkey became the pride and honour of the international community with the activities it carried out for refugees,” said Gabriel Munuera Vinals, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Turkey.
Training on risk assessment of industrial accidents and hazardous substances transportation, September 2018. Photo Team Up
One of Team-Up’s greatest contributions to AFAD was the creation of a clear road map to closer cooperation between various humanitarian and disaster management stakeholders in Turkey and worldwide. Speaking at the closing ceremony, Deputy Head of AFAD İsmail Palakoğlu said, “Many agencies and organizations that are with us today made important contributions. Cooperation is not only important during the times of disasters, but also during all disaster cycles. The goal is to provide space for the active contribution of stakeholders to the disaster management process. As a part of this project, AFAD has taken big steps to make its cooperation with the public and private sectors, as well as non-governmental organizations more systematic. In the future, AFAD’s existing cooperation activities will be supported within our projects concerning volunteering and similar issues, in order to enhance systematic cooperation.” Continuing this line of thought in his closing speech, Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs İsmail Çataklı added, “One of the most important missions of AFAD is to encourage all related stakeholders to actively participate in the disaster management process. There is no doubt that one of the most important successes that AFAD achieved within the framework of this project is the design of a road map for enhancing cooperation between public, private and non-governmental organizations. The mentioned model and protocol define working principles with agencies active in this field and provides the opportunity for more systematic cooperation. AFAD will support the new system established as a part of this project with its own resources and international resources in the future.”
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