Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Local NGOs propose disaster-relief body for entire East Asia

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Reacting to the rise in frequency of natural disasters affecting East Asian countries, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have proposed setting up a coordination platform for disaster relief in Taiwan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

The Taiwan Alliance in International Development (Taiwan AID), an alliance of dozens of local NGOs, is to table the proposal at the upcoming Asia NGOs International Development Conference to be held on Sept. 14 in Taipei, the ministry’s NGO Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman Wu Rong-chuan (吳榮泉) said.

Wu said the proposal had been well-received by various NGOs in other Asian countries since it was first broached in 2008, but the origin of funds needed for its operation remains to be resolved.

Despite a difficult funding environment, Taiwan AID has not relinquished the plan, as it wishes to make a difference with its skills and experience to contribute to Asian security facing the threats caused by global warming, Wu said.

Separately, at a routine press conference, Wu said that Cijin beach in Cijin District (旗津), Greater Kaohsiung, has been selected by Pacific Rim Parks (PRP), an NGO in the US, as a site to join a project aiming to foster understanding and goodwill in the marine environments of the region through the creation of ocean parks.

James Hubbell, a co-founder of the San Diego-based organization, and its president Kyle Bergman are in Taiwan discussing the plan with the Greater Kaohsiung Government and performing an onsite review and inspection of the site, Wu said.

If the design of the park is finalized by the end of this year, the park in Cijin is expected to be completed within six months, Wu said.

“It could enhance exchanges and cooperation in marine culture and ecosystem conservation between Taiwan and other countries under the project,” Wu said.

In related news, the Garden of Hope Foundation and Good Shepherd Social Welfare Service are to co-host an international conference of women’s shelters from Sept. 3 through Sept. 5 to bring together 22 leaders in women’s affairs organizations from 13 countries in Asia, Wu said.

The event forms part of efforts of local women organizations to become the focal point of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters.

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