The Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
was held from 16-19 June 2009 at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland. Approximately 1,785 participants attended the session
, including representatives from over 140 governments, 54 intergovernmental organizations, including UN specialized agencies, and 43 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The meeting
represented the primary multi-stakeholder forum for all parties involved in DRR and aimed to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share experiences and guide the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) system.
This Global Platform included high-level plenary sessions, roundtable discussions and an informal plenary to prepare for the Hyogo Framework for Action mid-term review. The Chair’s Summary that emerged from the meeting will help set the agenda for the global DRR community to prepare for it’s mid-term review and the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009.
This report provides a summary of the Second Session of the Global Platform proceedings
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
Natural hazards, such as floods, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis and epidemics, have had an increasing impact on humans due to population growth, urbanization, rising poverty and the onset of global environmental changes, including climate change, land degradation and deforestation. Compounding the situation, poor planning, poverty and a range of other underlying factors create conditions of vulnerability that result in insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potentially negative consequences of natural hazards and disasters. Thus, vulnerability contributes as much to the magnitude of the disaster impacts as do the natural hazards themselves. Action to reduce risk has grown in importance on the international agenda and is seen by many as essential to safeguard sustainable development efforts and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR NATURAL DISASTER REDUCTION:
An increase in human casualties and property damage in the 1980s motivated the UN General Assembly in 1989 to declare the 1990s the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) (Resolution 44/236
). The aim of the IDNDR was to address disaster prevention in the context of a range of hazards, including earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, grasshopper and locust infestations, and drought and desertification.
YOKOHAMA STRATEGY AND PLAN OF ACTION:
One of the main outcomes of the IDNDR was the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World and its Plan of Action, adopted in 1994 at the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction held in Yokohama, Japan. The Yokohama Strategy set guidelines for action on prevention, preparedness and mitigation of disaster risk. These guidelines were based on a set of principles that stress the importance of risk assessment, disaster prevention and preparedness, the capacity to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, and early warning.
The principles also stated that the international community should share technology to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, and demonstrate a strong political determination in the field of disaster reduction.
INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION:
At its 54th session in 1999, the UN General Assembly decided to continue the activities on disaster prevention and vulnerability reduction carried out during the IDNDR through the establishment of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). An Inter-Agency Secretariat and an Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) for the implementation of the ISDR were also established (Resolutions 54/219
, respectively). Among its mandated tasks, the IATF/DR was to convene ad hoc
expert meetings on issues related to disaster reduction.
WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER REDUCTION:
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR)
was held from 18-22 January 2005 in Kobe, Japan. The aim of the conference
was to increase the international profile of DRR, promote its integration into development planning and practice, and strengthen local and national capacities to address the causes of disasters that hamper development. The 168 States attending the conference adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015
: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA) and the Hyogo Declaration. The HFA was endorsed by the General Assembly in Resolution 60/195
, and committed governments to five priorities for action to: ensure that DRR is a national and local priority, with a strong institutional basis for implementation; identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning; use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels; reduce the underlying risk factors; and strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.
In 2006, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs launched a consultative process to consider practical ways of strengthening the ISDR system to support governments in meeting their commitments to implement the HFA. As outlined in the Secretary-General’s reports on the implementation of the ISDR, the main aims were to extend participation of governments and organizations, raise the profile of disaster reduction, and construct a more coherent international effort to support national disaster reduction activities. A result of the consultations was the proposal to convene the Global Platform for DRR as an expanded and reformed successor to the IATF/DR. The Global Platform was envisaged as serving as the primary multi-stakeholder forum for all parties involved in DRR in order to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share experience and guide the ISDR system.
FIRST SESSION OF THE GLOBAL PLATFORM FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION:
The First Session of the Global Platform
was held from 5-7 June 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. It included: plenary interventions and a high-level dialogue on challenges and opportunities in DRR; a series of session workshops on DRR as a national priority and integrating DRR into sector agendas; and plenary sessions on assessing the HFA and on the ISDR system action 2008-2009 to advance implementation of the HFA. Discussions at the Global Platform resulted in a draft Chair’s Summary that was included in the UN Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly on the implementation of the ISDR.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
provided an opportunity for a broad range of partners to assess progress made on disaster risk reduction (DRR) since the First Session of the Global Platform
in 2007, and to increase commitment and measurable actions to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA).
Throughout the week, participants met in an opening plenary
, followed by five high-level panels
on: increasing investment in DRR
; reducing disaster risk in a changing climate
; enabling community resilience through preventive action
; safer schools and hospital
; and disaster reduction and the recovery opportunity
. They also took part in five roundtable discussions
on: early warning
; local authorities and urban risk reduction
; the role of ecosystems in DRR
; and creating synergies at the grassroots level
. On Friday in the closing plenary
, participants heard closing statements and discussed the Chair’s Summary
Key issues emanating from the various sessions were also taken up during a three-day informal plenary
, the purpose of which was to comment on the HFA mid-term review and implementation. There were also over 40 side events that took place during the week, but which are not covered in this report.
OPENING OF THE SESSION
On Tuesday, 16 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the Second Session of the Global Platform
by video message. Recognizing that the world is increasingly facing threats from natural disasters – with the impacts of climate change compounding the situation – he stressed that DRR is the frontline defense and a crucial investment for the future. He challenged participants to set targets and take practical steps to reduce the loss of life and damage from disasters.
Hans-Rudolf Merz, President of the Swiss Confederation, described Switzerland’s commitment to invest in prevention measures against such local natural hazards as landslides, floods, drought and earthquakes. He said that it is better to “prevent than to cure,” and stressed the importance of cooperation and experience-sharing for global solutions and more effective protection measures against natural disasters.
John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Chair of the Second Session of the Global Platform, underlined overarching themes of the meeting: the linkages between disasters, poverty and vulnerability, as well as the connection between DRR and climate change. He then highlighted progress in four key areas: increased DRR investment; integration of DRR into climate change adaptation and development policies; acceleration of community resilience and livelihood protection; and a comprehensive mid-term review of the HFA. He stressed that, although the international community is increasingly addressing DRR and has placed it on the agenda of the UN climate change negotiations, there is still a need to integrate it into core decision-making processes of governments to ensure sustained action.
Anote Tong, President, Kiribati, alerted participants to the existing security threats that climate change poses to his nation. He outlined short-term adaptation strategies to address sea-level rise but underscored the need to relocate the population of his country within the next 50 years. Tong stressed the need for robust global policy frameworks, financial investments and effective partnerships, and extended gratitude to the EU and multilateral institutions for sustained funding of adaptation programmes in Kiribati.
Rafael Albuqurque, Vice-President, Dominican Republic, outlined national challenges and policies to address natural disasters in his country, including the development of a national platform on DRR, the establishment of a technical committee, and efforts to establish a national fund for disaster risk prevention and reduction. Noting that natural disaster impacts are both causes and consequences of poverty, he discussed the connection between poverty and adaptation. Stressing the need for participatory approaches to DRR, he described civil society initiatives such as “work brigades” and a solidarity programme in his country.
Orette Bruce Golding, Prime Minister, Jamaica, said UNISDR’s mission is crucial to the well-being of the world but noted that many governments display insufficient political commitment to action. Noting that natural disasters in 2008 affected 200 million people and incurred damage costs of US$180 billion, he stressed the importance of financial resources for risk reduction.
Raila Odinga, Prime Minister, Kenya, drew attention to the effects of climate change facing Africa as well as other pressing priorities on the continent and called for an inter-sectoral approach to deal with DRR and climate change at national, regional and global levels. Issatou Njie Saidy, Vice-President of Gambia, stressed the need for better stakeholder coordination for DRR and stronger strategic alliances and partnerships to address resource and financial challenges faced by developing countries.
Libertina Amathila, Deputy Prime Minister, Namibia, urged participants to use this forum to share experiences, expertise and practices in order to “make a difference for the people on the ground.”
Drawing on his country’s experiences in managing natural disasters, Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Minister of Food and Disaster Management, Bangladesh, stressed the need for greater investment in early warning systems (EWS) that would better prepare nations for disasters. Liew Vui Keong, Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia, emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing DRR and the role of the media in raising public awareness.
Describing natural disasters as the “greatest humanitarian challenge of our time,” Loren Legarda, Senator, the Philippines, said that reducing disaster risk is a moral imperative for governments. She called for a renewed commitment to DRR and urgent policy reforms that, inter alia
, build local capacities, link DRR and climate change adaptation, and acknowledge indigenous knowledge and gender sensitivity.
Following the opening statements, the plenary adopted the draft agenda.
GLOBAL AND REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES: PROGRESS IN ACHIEVING A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN DISASTER LOSSES: Global Perspectives:
On Tuesday, 16 June, plenary heard presentations on global achievements and challenges in implementing the HFA. Andrew Maskrey, UNISDR, presented the main findings from the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate. He said disaster risk is magnified by climate change, unevenly distributed geographically and concentrated in developing countries. He reported that low-intensity risk is widespread and rapidly increasing, and emphasized the need to address key driving factors behind this trend, including deficient local governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods and declining ecosystems. Noting mixed progress in reducing risk and economic losses, he listed recommendations, including the need to: accelerate global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change and increase economic resilience; invest in risk reducing development; and introduce governance innovations to ensure integration between risk reduction and development policies.
Salvano Briceño, Director, UNISDR, highlighted a number of key achievements since the first session of the Global Platform
in 2007, pointing out that 120 governments have designated national focal points for HFA implementation and 50 have established multi-stakeholder national platforms for DRR.
Walter Erderlen, Chair, ISDR Scientific and Technical Committee, presented the committee’s work, highlighting issues concerning climate change, EWS, public health and socio-economic resilience. He further highlighted the need to make scientific knowledge available to policymakers for more cohesive policy formulation, and encouraged participants to work to translate conclusions into concrete actions.
Loïc Fauchon, President, World Water Council, highlighted immediate actions that can be taken to address water-related disasters including, inter alia,
strengthening the role of parliamentarians, local authorities and civil society organizations, and the need for greater inter-organizational coordination during disasters.
Marcus Oxley, Global Network for Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction, highlighted the gap between national policies and local level actions, scarce financial resources at the local level, and using funding from climate change to address underlying DRR issues in developing countries.
Carlos Foradori, Chair, ISDR Support Group, described the work of the group, which for the past two years has focused on recommendations from the first session of the Global Platform, periodic updates on the HFA, addressing financial constraints, and how to better link DRR and climate change. His Royal Highness Prince Turki Bin Nasser Bin Abdulaziz, President of Meteorology and Environment, Saudi Arabia, gave an update on the Arab region’s progress on confronting natural hazards, noting the need to strengthen national coordination and prepare an Arab regional strategy for DRR.
Tomas Husak, Czech Republic, on behalf of the EU, said that the EU is committed to the HFA and actively supporting DRR in developing countries. Eladio Fernandez-Gabriel, Executive Secretary, European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA), Council of Europe, stated that national platforms for DRR have been established in 11 EU countries and that 35 EU countries have HFA focal points. He added that more work is needed to integrate DRR into national legislation throughout the EU.
On HFA implementation in the Americas, Pablo González, Chief, Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change, Organization of American States, stressed the importance of regional and subregional organizations to address DRR issues and called for more South-South cooperation. Abebe Haile-Gabriel, Head, Rural Economic Division, African Union, highlighted progress in the African region, noting governments, with support from subregional inter-governmental institutions, are working on integrating DRR into their development strategies but work remains to translate political commitments into action.
For the Pacific region, Cristelle Pratt, Director, The Pacific Islands Applied Geo-Science Commission, noted a number of achievements, including the formulation of DRR national action plans in a number of countries. Adelina Kamal, Head, Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Division, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, announced that ASEAN will be the first region to make DRR legally binding.
On Tuesday, 16 June, Margareta Wahlström, UN
Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Kasidis Rochanakorn, Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, co-chaired the informal plenary on preparing for the HFA mid-term review.
Pascal Peduzzi, UNISDR, presented a report on the 2009 Global Assessment on Disaster Risk Reduction, explaining that the study covered various natural disasters, including drought, tropical storms, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis. He described a newly developed database on population and GDP distribution and said it was used to assess vulnerability and create a global map identifying high-risk areas. Peduzzi highlighted that risk is increasing because of population growth, poor urban infrastructure and increased exposure to natural disasters. On limitations of the study, he noted that data related to drought and tsunamis could not be adequately computed, and that reports on economic losses are imprecise.
In the ensuing discussion, many participants stressed the importance of finance, capacity building, awareness raising and stronger DRR action at the local level. Various representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations raised the following points: DRR is an unfamiliar concept in many communities; the private sector assesses DRR costs but not the benefits from DRR action; it is more efficient to mainstream existing budgets toward DRR rather than increase budgets; policy project development is sometimes a prerequisite for funding; and DRR policy could be made a condition for partnership support in the same way that industrial project approval is contingent on environmental impact assessments.
Panelists also stressed the importance of, inter alia
: private sector involvement; public-private partnerships; the use of traditional local knowledge relevant to DRR; periodic policy reviews at national levels; engagement of women; and special consideration to low-lying small island nations. One participant noted a low level of awareness in countries regarding HFA, and stressed the importance of informing and involving government actors who make funding decisions.
Co-Chair Wahlström then stressed the importance of learning from experience and called on participants to identify obstacles to effective action. Some participants suggested that one obstacle is the multitude of national ministries relevant to DRR, with one stating that too many UN agencies are addressing DRR. One said there is insufficient data to enable estimates of how much countries need to invest in DRR. Stressing the need for innovative policy approaches, another participant called for working with politicians from rival parties, activists, and natural and social scientists. One participant raised the question regarding indicators for the mid-term review of the HFA implementation. Co-Chair Wahlström said that performance measures for the review are not currently available, discussed qualitative versus quantitative and peer reviews versus self-assessment, and urged participants to agree on the basis for the mid-term review.
On Wednesday, 17 June, the informal plenary, co-chaired by Margareta Wahlström and Michel Jarraud, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), discussed concrete steps toward mainstreaming DRR and conducting the mid-term review of HFA implementation. Co-Chair Jarraud said that making investment decisions on the basis of previous experiences is difficult because the past is no longer a good indicator of the future due to climate change. He noted considerable progress in responding to natural disasters over the last decade, including significant reduction in casualties and development of regional centers for typhoons.
Many stressed the importance of utilizing local knowledge and wisdom relevant to DRR. Various participants stressed the need for, inter alia
: long-term policy agendas; early prevention and preparation for natural disasters beyond 2015; regular monitoring; involvement of international development sectors in DRR; better integration of development and humanitarian efforts; and provision of positive incentives for change.
Others highlighted the need to: measure how the HFA is improving the ability of communities to address risk; assess the actual impact of national DRR platforms; share experiences in national policy implementation and regional collaboration; learn from best practices, “bad practices” and the absence of practices in relation to DRR; broaden the HFA to incorporate multiple discourses on climate change, development and DRR; develop capacity building modules; and utilize recent scientific information.
Noting the widespread view that absence of local DRR action is a major problem, one participant called for involving local authorities in the ISDR process and remarked on their absence at this conference. Some noted the difficulties in measuring progress, conducting a cross-national comparative analysis of policies, or applying lessons from one region to another. Others underscored the importance of using consistent and universally valid methodology for collecting data and conducting the HFA review. Co-Chair Wahlström requested participants to identify resources they could offer for the review process.
On Thursday, 18 June, Margareta Wahlström was joined by Jordan Ryan, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery as co-chair of the informal plenary. Co-Chair Wahlström updated participants on discussions taking place at other meeting sessions, noting, inter alia
, suggestions to integrate young people and children into DRR, and allocate a minimum of one percent of national development budgets to DRR. Co-Chair Ryan noted the importance of involving women and children in DRR, sustainability of recovery, institutional integration of DRR into planning and budgets, multilateral cooperation and concerted efforts at poverty alleviation. He stressed the need to maintain a positive tone in the mid-term review to reflect progress made.
One participant suggested ensuring that by 2015 at least 50 percent of schools have curricula related to DRR, and dedicating a minimum of 10 percent of humanitarian aid to DRR. Many participants highlighted the importance of local-level actions and broad participatory approaches, and lamented the relative shortage of local-level actors at this conference. Some said successes are often at the local level and lessons need to be drawn from them. Another said UNISDR should respond much more creatively to local-level developments. Others suggested achieving a higher ratio of NGO participants in ISDR processes, with one requesting that the next Global Platform session include half a day of presentations from grassroots organizations. Regarding the mid-term review, one participant proposed increasing transparency and accountability by appointing a separate and independent body to develop modalities for the review and provide quality insurance.
Noting that vulnerability is difficult to monitor, one participant proposed collaborative work between international organizations to develop a range of indicators for DRR. Several participants stressed the need for, inter alia
: better cross-country learning; increased involvement of children; regional policy reports; provincial action plans; South-South cooperation; and an ecosystems-driven approach. One said that a forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on DRR will provide knowledge and answers that can be applied locally. Another added that the mid-term review should be utilized to further improve HFA implementation.
Responding to these comments, the co-chairs said the purpose of the informal plenary is to “gauge the temperature” on key issues and that the UNISDR Secretariat will consider expressed views but cannot commit to including all suggestions in the list of recommendations to ISDR stakeholders.
INCREASING INVESTMENT FOR RISK REDUCTION:
On Tuesday, 16 June, participants in a high-level session, moderated by Zoubida Allaoua, World Bank, exchanged experiences on initiatives to reduce risk and explored the challenges related to increasing investements for DRR.
Anote Tong said his government, despite the lack of resources, was trying to respond to imminent disasters, especially rising sea levels that threaten his country. He added that until it is time for the population to leave the island, the focus will be on managing trade-offs and linking various challenges within overall sustainable development, such as education and public infrastructure.
Jean Max Bellerive, Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, Haiti, acknowledged that the business environment in Haiti needs to be more inviting for investors to come and help rebuilding efforts following natural disasters such as cyclones. He called for establishing a platform for experience-sharing among countries facing similar threats.
Peter Katjavivi, National Planning Commission, Namibia, said that his country was starting to prioritize key sectors that need more resilient infrastructure, especially in flood zones, but emphasized that DRR investment should not be diverted from main development goals. Harry Azhar Azis, House of Representatives, Indonesia, however, stressed the need to adopt DRR as part of their overall development plans and to invest more in disaster reduction strategies, including technology and educating people in high-disaster areas.
Several key issues raised during an ensuing discussion, included, inter alia
, the need to: mainstream DRR at the local, national and regional levels; create the right environment for investment in DRR, such as having the right incentives and legal frameworks in place; develop a global mechanism for cooperation sharing, transfer of knowledge and experience; have a common platform for strategies between DRR and climate change adaptation; allocate a portion of national budgets to disaster management funds; and establish a global fund for DRR.
REDUCING DISASTER RISK IN A CHANGING CLIMATE:
On Wednesday, 17 June, participants met in a high-level panel to address the linkages between DRR and climate change, and specific steps to integrate DRR and climate change adaptation (CCA) policies.
Han Seung-soo, Prime Minister, Korea, addressed participants via a video message. He stressed the importance of prevention and the need for multilateral cooperation. Moderator Johan Schaar, Director, Secretariat to the Commission on Climate Change and Development, Sweden, noted the absence of sufficiently strong integration between DRR and CCA, and stressed that ongoing climate change negotiations provide a crucial opportunity to incorporate DRR into future climate policy. Discussing mismatches between CCA and DRR, he said disaster reduction is characterized by short-term responses while adaptation is regarded as a long-term policy priority.
Michel Jarraud pointed out that between 1980 and 2007 more than 8,000 natural disasters killed two million people, and more than 70 percent of casualties and 75 percent of economic losses were caused by extreme weather events. Noting an increase in the frequency and intensity of climate-related natural disasters, he stressed the need for immediate action and for targeted information that allows policymakers to develop effective adaptation policy frameworks.
Gareth Thomas, Minister of International Development, UK, highlighted the need for an effective agreement on climate change in Copenhagen that incorporates DRR. He proposed that adaptation financing be used to fund DRR to harness political will around climate change. Thomas also spoke about the importance of the international humanitarian system in addressing DRR and the need to mainstream DRR into country policies and actions.
Håkon Gulbrandsen, State Secretary for International Development, Norway, said sustainable long-term solutions and resource allocation to DRR are of key importance. He noted that weather-related disaster risks are increasing and having more devastating impacts on communities than expected. Carlos Costa Posada, Minister of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, Colombia, stressed the need for, inter alia
: co-financing DRR from central and regional government budgets; building on existing DRR platforms and established institutional coordination mechanisms; utilizing existing traditional knowledge and practices; framing climate change in DRR terminology; and promoting sustainability of investments in DRR. Kristie Ebi, IPCC, informed participants of a forthcoming special IPCC report on disaster risk responses, and issued a call for nominations to people from the DRR process to contribute to the report.
Responding to questions, various panelists called for UNISDR to work with other international bodies; urged countries to invest in adaptation with or without international help; and noted that humanitarian crises are opportunities for attracting investment into the economy and creating jobs.
ENABLING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE THROUGH PREVENTIVE ACTION:
On Wednesday, 17 June, Saidur Rahman, Disaster Preparedness Centre, Bangladesh, moderated a high-level panel session on community-led resilience. He noted that any action to develop resilience at the community level must be led by people at that level.
In a keynote address, Ana Lucy Bengochea, Chair of Comité Garifuna, Honduras, stressed the importance of protecting livelihoods, linking disaster and development aid, and empowering the community, especially women, in disaster recovery and reconstruction. She added that traditional knowledge should be considered in DRR strategies.
Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (
IFCR), addressed the linkages between early warning and community resilience, emphasizing that community-led resilience is a prerequisite for a safer future. He added that DRR is not sufficiently reaching vulnerable communities and must be scaled-up, and requires more resources. Naoto Tajiri, Director of the International Office for Disaster Management, Japan, emphasized the importance of DRR awareness at the community level, and that the use of low-cost, traditional technologies in disaster prevention can be replicated in other countries.
Jose Maria Rubiera Torres, Director of the National Forecasting Center, Cuba, said that political will and human resources at all levels of society are essential to DRR. Ali Wario, Chair of the African Union Special Task Force on a Pastoral Framework, stated that pastoral communities are vulnerable to natural disasters, especially drought and the impacts of climate change, and are becoming more dependent on food aid. Investing in livelihood protection, he suggested, will be essential for their future survival.
In the ensuing discussion, Mr. Agostino Miozzo, Director General, International Relations Office, Civil Protection Department, Italy, stressed the importance of capacity building in disaster prevention for increased preparedness and a better response to disasters, whilst Mr. Eusebio Reyes, Mayor of Telica Municipality, Nicaragua, called for more coordination between the national and local level to ensure a systematic allocation of part of national budget in order to empower local authorities in disaster risk reduction. The panelists also highlighted the important linkage between poverty and DRR, especially for poorest communities who happen to be the most vulnerable to disasters urged their integration as part of the development agenda. As one panelist said: “poverty is a disaster within itself.”
SAFER SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS:
On Thursday, 18 June, Virginia Murray, Health Protection Agency, UK, moderated this panel, stressing the importance of building structurally sound schools and hospitals so that they provide vital services during natural disasters. She also said: health and education are critical elements of a holistic approach to DRR; critical infrastructures must be safe from disasters; education, knowledge management and training are essential to DRR; and scientific information should be shared and translated into practical know-how.
Carmencita Banatin, Department of Health, the Philippines, said hospitals are vulnerable to natural hazards and damage to hospitals undermines responses to disasters. She discussed initiatives and tools in her country to ensure structural resilience and uninterrupted services, including a manual for hospital administrators, a hospital assessment tool, evidence-based research as inputs for decision-making, capacity building of major players, and partnership with civil society actors.
Gerard Bonhoure, Ministry of National Education, France, stressed the importance of scientific knowledge as a basis for policy. Discussing the connections between knowledge, decisions and actions, he said communities need to raise awareness of the complexity of disaster situations, assist people in making decisions and act as responsible citizens, and integrate DRR in the curricula of primary and secondary schools.
Laura Gurza Jaidar, Ministry of the Interior, Mexico, noted that her country has established hospitals with higher capacity in high-risk areas, and designated “essential hospitals” that are of strategic importance during disasters. Jaidar proposed: introducing legal requirements; providing capacity building and training for response to pandemics; and providing disaster reduction information through the media.
Noting that knowledge, skills and competence are necessary to facilitate appropriate citizen action in times of natural disasters, Sulton Rahimov, Head of Department of Ecology and Emergency Situations, Tajikistan, stressed that his government has incorporated DRR into the national curriculum, including through extracurricular classes, and informal education tools such as drills, workshops and outdoor exercises.
Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), noted that many victims are not killed by natural disasters but die due to inadequate responses. He stressed the importance of investing in DRR, retrofitting hospitals and training professionals. Laroche proposed: a global thematic platform for health risk reduction; integration of health policy on all regional and national DRR platforms; continued investment in safe hospitals; investment in research to inform decisions and action; and allocation of 10-20 percent of humanitarian funding to DRR.
In response to comments from participants, various panelists stressed a number of issues including: the education of parents on DRR; political leadership; multi-sectoral approaches to DRR; technical and professional training; and the use of the internet for awareness raising.
Zoubida Allaoua, World Bank, announced the official launch of the Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction developed by the World Bank and the Inter-Agency Network of Education in Emergencies.
BUILDING BACK BETTER DISASTER REDUCTION AND RECOVERY:
On Thursday, 18 June, Mukesh Kapila, World Bank, moderated a session on post-disaster recovery and rebuilding. “Building back better” following disaster, he said, means going beyond restoring the way things were, and enabling affected communities achieve a greater level of resilience through recovery. Rachel Shebesh, Member of Parliament, Kenya, stressed that communities affected by disasters should rely on themselves in reconstructing their lives, adding that women should be part of the decision-making and recovery process. Lorena Cajas Albán, Vice-Minister of Security, Ecuador, stressed institutionalizing DRR in future development plans and the involvement of all stakeholders in reconstruction activities.
Citing recovery efforts in Aceh since the 2004 tsunami, Bakri Beck, National Agency for Disaster Management, Indonesia, noted progress made in building back better housing systems and preparedness programmes. He supported government involvement in all reconstruction activities and community-based development.
Assessing lessons learned from ASEAN’s involvement in Myanmar following Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General, ASEAN, stressed the importance of integrating DRR in all aspects of rebuilding and of countries developing comprehensive recovery plans. Dean Hirsch, President and Chief Executive, World Vision International, added that the involvement of children is an essential component of DRR.
Jordan Ryan said reconstruction is not just about rebuilding physical structures but also about focusing on human recovery and having compreshensive disaster management programmes in place before disaster hits. Vinay Kumar, Ministry of Home Affairs, India, said that, after four major natural disasters in the last two decades, India now has the legal framework and mechanisms in place for rescue and relief efforts as well as reconstruction. Disaster resilience, he said, should be part of development planning.
On Tuesday, 16 June, Maryam Golnaraghi, WMO, and Bhupinder Tomar, IFRC, co-chaired a roundtable on challenges faced in the implementation of EWS. Co-Chair Golnaraghi noted the economic costs associated with disasters have increased while the human casualties have decreased largely due to the effective implementation of EWS. She also highlighted that more than 60 percent of countries do not have an effective EWS. Co-Chair Bhupinder stated that although human life is being preserved, livelihoods are still being lost.
Jose Rubiera, Cuban Institute of Meteorology, highlighted elements for success in dealing with disasters from the local to national level. This includes a wide legal basis that uses the meteorological department as the voice of early warnings, a civil defence system that works in tandem with the meteorological department, the use of the media to disseminate early warning messages and political will that drives the process. Catherine Martin, Philippines National Red Cross, presented on community-level management, explaining that the community is central to the success of every EWS. Martin described a pilot project in the Philippines where her organization trains selected individuals on EWS, and ultimately links the community to the government EWS to ensure adequate support from the government in the event of a disaster.
Harsh Gupta, Geological Society of India, described the Tsunami EWS and praised organizations in the Pacific Ocean region for sharing experiences on coping with such disasters. For a good Tsunami EWS, he placed emphasis on the need for: a detailed topography of the coastal area concerned; ocean bottom pressure recorders; tide gauges; and immediate action when a warning is issued.
Farhad Uddin, Bangladesh Disaster Management Bureau, highlighted his country’s cyclone preparedness programme, which has drawn 43,000 volunteers to disseminate early warning messages to far-flung areas. Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, International Center for Water Hazard, emphasized the human factor in the success of any EWS. He underscored that although EWS technology is preventing human casualties, the driving force of this technology is the community behind it.
Karl-Otto Zentel, German Committee for Disaster Reduction, noted that Germany had recognized EWS as the most important contributing factor for saving lives in disaster situations, and had improved the EWS procedures over time. He emphasized that progress is still being made on the issue and highlighted the need to link services, science and practitioners for the system to work more smoothly.
LOCAL AUTHORITIES ON URBAN RISK REDUCTION:
On Wednesday, 17 June, Narayan Gopal Malego, Mayor of Katmandu, Nepal, and Violeta Seva, Earthquakes and Megacities, the Philippines, co-chaired the roundtable on urban risk. Co-Chair Narayan noted the important role local authorities play in the implementation of urban risk reduction (URR) strategies, highlighting that this role will be broadened as the effects of climate change increase. He emphasized the need for central government support of local government actions and greater investment in local-level URR strategies.
Co-Chair Seva highlighted the importance of: a review of the role of local authorities in contributing to the HFA mid-term review; increased investment in URR by donors; a redistribution of funds to favor the more vulnerable; increased capacity building at the local level on URR and DRR; and city-to-city cooperation to enhance the sharing of ideas and experiences.
Bhichit Rattakul, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, highlighted that although some cities are trying to tackle climate change as a stand-alone disaster, the most effective way of combating climate change in urban settings is through a holistic URR plan.
Alfredo Lazarte-Hoyle, International Labour Organization, stressed that more attention should be given to local communities’ capacities to use the available and allocated resources. He pointed to the need for viable city disaster plans and land-use plans, and urged support for the local community to better articulate their position on URR.
Ian O’Donnell, ProVention Consortium, stated that engagement of local-level actors, particularly local authorities, will be of key importance in the second half of the HFA implementation period. He underlined that the international community must find ways to invest in local-level HFA implementation activities. Inga Bjork-Klevby, Deputy Executive Director, UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), reiterated UN-HABITAT’s support for URR measures and noted that there are many more challenges and risks that arise from growing urban populations, which are compounded by the threat of climate change.
ROLE OF ECOSYSTEMS IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION:
On Wednesday, 17 June, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, chaired a roundtable on the role of ecosystem management in climate change adaptation and DRR. Richard Munang, UNEP, described the interlinkages between ecosystem degradation and climate change, and their combined effects on the most vulnerable communities. Noting that this is a reversible process that can be tackled through reduced emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD), he urged collective responsibility at the local, national and global levels on the basis of “shared vision and knowledge.”
Sam Hettiarachchi, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, said that although there have been several attempts to integrate ecosystem management (ESM), DRR and CCA, much still needs to be done to integrate them at the national level. Anders Wijkman, Member of European Parliament, Sweden, lamented that many people continue to live by the myth of endless resources and an endless capacity for the environment to absorb man-made emissions. He reiterated the need to involve policymakers in scientific processes to ensure better informed decisions in relation to ESM, DRR and CCA.
Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International, stressed engagement with those responsible for resources and finance at the national and regional levels and emphasized the need for intersectoral cooperation to deal with the three issues. He reiterated that for progress to be made on ESM, DRR and CCA there needs to be a strong agreement at the climate change talks in Copenhagen. Neville Ash, IUCN, highlighted that the world recognizes the direct and indirect benefits that ecosystems provide but has failed to link DRR to ecosystem degradation. He called for a stronger evidence-base to link the two and noted the need for greater investment to restore and maintain ecosystems.
Participants then discussed: the role of forest management in DRR; water management in response to melting snow caps; the effect of biofuels on the environment; limited funds for investing in DRR at the local level; a harmonized funding mechanism for ESM, DRR and CCA; the need to make climate change “real” to local communities; interministerial coordination; integration of DRR in national adaptation programmes of action; and the gap between the national level and the local level in terms of implementation.
On Thursday, 18 June, Martin Bell, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), moderated the roundtable on risk reduction education, co-chaired by MargaretaWahlström and Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF. Co-Chair Wahlström underscored that education is a cornerstone of the DRR agenda, and called for stronger commitment at all levels to promote safer schools and safer environments for children. Co-Chair Arsenault urged participants to listen to the voice of children and adolescents on issues of DRR as these voices bring a different perspective for solutions.
Speaking for young people, Rhee Telen, the Philippines, stressed that children have a right to education and to participate in decisions that affect their future. Caroline Howe, Indian Youth Climate Network, lamented that there is no time for the current generation to gather enough information on the risks of climate change to pass on to the youth, but emphasized that they are prepared to learn from, share experiences with and teach the older generation. Sae Kani, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, said that disabled children must be integrated into the DRR agenda. Stressing that children are the most powerful advocates in the world, Nigel Chapman, Chief Executive Officer, Plan International, underlined the importance of including children in the DRR agenda, noting that it is through educating children that entire communities are made aware of DRR practices.
Guadalupe Valdez, Deputy Minister of Education, Dominican Republic, highlighted her country’s policies on DRR and education and urged policymakers to invest in education budgets that will promote DRR. Luis Figueras, European Commission, underlined the need for the donor community to take on board a more coordinated and youth-oriented approach to financing projects on education and DRR, and urged concerned ministries to push the DRR agenda into school curricula. Mia Horn, Swedish Development Agency, said that children are effective agents for change and stressed that linking DRR humanitarian work and development was key to spreading the DRR message.
CREATING SYNERGIES AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL:
On Thursday, 18 June, Manu Gupta, Seeds India, moderated the NGO roundtable on creating DRR synergies at the grassroots level, which was chaired by Jemilah Mahmood, Mercy Malaysia. Chair Mahmood asked panelists to address issues related to the contribution of alliances and networks to the scaling-up of community-driven practices, and ways to develop a benchmark to encourage government accountability to grassroots actors on DRR issues.
Maureen Fordham, Gender and Disaster Network, described her organization’s experience as a web-based gender network whose aim is to connect various actors to further the DRR agenda from the NGO perspective. She noted that there remain barriers to fully integrating gender into the DRR agenda. Margaret Arnold, ProVention Consortium, described the work of her organization in post-disaster needs assessment, disaster resilience funding at the community level and creating links between the grassroots level, the civil society and the government. She described the work of networks as “viral,” which spread from one individual to the next with the ultimate goal of creating sectoral change.
Carmen Griffiths, Construction Resource and Development Center, South Africa, said that disasters bring women together. She highlighted an example of women in Jamaica sharing experiences and knowledge in DRR with women in Honduras and Guatemala, and urged NGOs to replicate such experiences in other parts of the world. Angel Marcos, Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America, stressed that to further DRR, grassroots organizations need to be mainstreamed. He called for strengthening the link between DRR dialogue and practice on the ground. He also highlighted the linkages between grassroots organizations, women’s organizations and civil society in relation to DRR, noting that the three must be included in the design and elaboration of public policies in the region.
Marcus Oxley underscored the need for political will in order to scale-up local level capacity for resilience, and emphasized that governance systems must be able to create consultative decision-making processes on DRR.
On Friday, 19 June, in closing plenary, Global Platform Chair Holmes described his impressions of the Second Session of the Global Platform
, noting that participants had placed a strong emphasis in the week’s discussions on community involvement, education and health, urban risks, the fundamental role of women and children and climate change.
David Nabarro, UN System Coordinator on Avian and Human Influenza and the Global Food Security Crisis, stressed the importance of making pandemic preparedness an integral part of DRR planning and identified a number of factors that are essential to such preparedness: political commitment to sustain efforts; intersectoral working capacity; and well-planned communications strategies. Nabarro warned that as the current swine flu pandemic evolves and spreads to other countries, particularly poorer countries, governments and national health authorities need to make sure they are as ready as possible. He also called on policymakers in the health sector to muster political courage and be ready to overstep institutional boundaries in pursuit of effective action.
Laura Gurza, Ministry of the Interior, Mexico, added that although the pandemic is a health problem it requires a response from various sectors of government and society, including the private sector.
Margareta Wahlström introduced a session on feedback and take-away messages from specific stakeholders at the Second Session of the Global Platform
. Luz Amanda Pulido, Ministry of the Interior, Colombia, reiterated the need to ensure that there is greater investment in disaster preparedness and disaster recovery systems, stressing that country-level preparedness for climate change and disasters should be monitored. Norma Schimming-Chase, Member of Parliament, Namibia, gave an overview of the outcomes of a meeting of parliamentarians held during the Second Session of the Global Platform, highlighting, inter alia
: bridging the gap in HFA implementation at the regional, national and local level; creating a conducive political environment for the implementation of HFA; and raising awareness on the role of women and other major groups in DRR.
Victor Rembeth, Indonesia, spoke on behalf of national platforms and urged participants to invest in financial and technical support for DRR national platforms, and coordinate the work of DRR national platforms and climate change focal points to avoid duplication of work at the national level.
Haydeé Rodríguez, Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS), Nicaragua, stressed that local level priorities must inform national level policies and added that there is a need for clear mechanisms for collaboration and for growth of the resilience fund. Constancio Choque, Bolivia, and Rhee Telen, the Philippines, spoke on behalf of young people. Choque called on his country to implement laws that would give children the right to express themselves, be heard and live in a healthy environment. He called for greater involvement of children at future UNISDR Platform meetings. Telen equated Geneva to a “school for governments” and urged participants to return to their countries and “do their homework” on DRR with a view to including young people in the various processes.
Wahlström said that the UNISDR would make available an online summary of work on the mid-term review, which will be open for comments from all stakeholders as this is a multi-stakeholder strategy. She noted that the HFA will be the basis for the review and said that as the HFA is a very recent framework, the review will be realistic in looking at the achievements already made, with more attention being paid to the lessons learnt.
Ibrahim Osman, Deputy Secretary-General, IFRC, made a statement on behalf of the ISDR Management Oversight Board on the way forward. In setting targets to halve the number of disaster-related deaths by 2015, he called for the establishment of clear, national and international financial commitments to DRR; and a global structural evaluation of schools and hospitals.
Introducing the Chair’s Summary in the closing plenary, Global Platform Chair Holmes said that the DRR process was increasingly being driven at the local level, particularly from leadership in developing countries. He then highlighted the following areas to be considered critical for future progress:
- Climate change: DRR must be a concrete part of the climate change negotiations at the UN Climate meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009;
- Reduced risk: Success in reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change will depend on the development of innovative partnerships that recognize the mutual dependence of actions undertaken by central and local governments and civil society;
- Financing DRR: Proposals included a variety of innovations, such as incentives for retrofitting, risk transfer tools, risk-sensitive development, private sector involvement, debt swap to finance disaster reduction measures and linkages with adaptation financing; and
- Setting DRR targets: UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon called for a target to halve the losses of lives from disasters by 2015.
Specific targets are also identified – reflecting the conference’s deliberations – as catalysts for cutting deaths and economic losses brought on by disasters, including:
- By 2010, establishment of clear national and international financial commitments to DRR, for example to allocate a minimum of 10 percent of all humanitarian and reconstruction funding, at least one percent of development funding, and at least 30 percent of climate change adaptation funding, to DRR;
- By 2011, a global structural evaluation of all schools and hospitals, and by 2015 firm action plans for safer schools and hospitals developed and implemented in all disaster-prone countries with DRR included in all school curricula by the same year;
- By 2015, all major cities in disaster prone areas to include and enforce DRR measures in their building and land use codes.
The Chair’s Summary also notes that, with the HFA approaching the halfway point of its term, the mid-term review must address strategic and fundamental matters concerning its implementation towards 2015 and beyond. It states that this will require leadership from governments, close involvement of civil society, including women and children, and support from UNISDR and ISDR partners.
In a subsequent discussion on the Chair’s Summary, many participants commented that the text does not sufficiently capture themes that were frequently discussed at the meeting, and requested that the summary place stronger emphasis on: local-level policy implementation; experience sharing and lessons learned; multi-stakeholder involvement, particularly of actors at the local level; indigenous communities’ contributions; the use of local wisdom and traditional knowledge; regional-level actions and funding for regional policy frameworks; and multi-sectoral coordination.
Others stressed the importance of: integration between DRR and development policies; adequate education, training and capacity building programmes; need for technological support; effective EWS; making widely available climate-related information; cross-national data sharing to improve weather forecasts; local platforms; microfinance and insurance; the needs of the most vulnerable, including disabled persons; scientific information and research funding; and short-term humanitarian responses to emergencies.
Still others called for references to: adequate insurance schemes; the special needs of small-island nations; private sector involvement; slow-onset disasters such as drought; the connection between disasters and livelihoods; and children’s rights to be involved in climate change discussions. Some participants called for a stronger partnership between UNISDR and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change, and called for participants to work with their climate change negotiators to include DRR in their proposals for Copenhagen. Others called for stronger inter-ministerial and inter-sectoral partnerships.
Noting the importance of local-level organizers, one participant stressed the need for stronger language in the summary to reflect this. Another proposed that DRR be incorporated into the MDGs, with some welcoming the inclusion of children and youth into ISDR processes. Some stressed the inclusion of preparedness for pandemics, forest protection and the risks posed by man-made disasters in Gaza and Iraq. The importance of DRR public-private partnerships in schools and hospitals was also emphasized, with other participants noting the role good governance plays in DRR. One participant suggested that all countries develop emergency telecommunication plans that would assist in emergency mapping and noted that this could save lives.
Noting that issues of accountability have often been raised, one participant called for independent monitoring of HFA implementation that involves local actors to ensure stakeholder involvement, and suggested that the UNISDR Secretariat report on partnership activities in the ISDR system. A participant expressed concern that the process is not capitalizing on increased political will for DRR. Another asked for UNISDR help in developing national platforms for DRR. One participant emphasized root causes of climate change and described mitigation efforts in developed countries as a form of DRR, while another objected to multiple references to climate change, noting that climate policy is negotiated in other processes.
Global Platform Chair Holmes said the UNISDR Secretariat would take all these views into consideration, adding that a new version of the Chair’s Summary, reflecting comments from the floor, would be posted on the PreventionWeb Global Platform website in the coming week. He said that participants would then have a further two weeks to review and make further inputs before finalization of the text.
WORLD CONFERENCE ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT:
This conference will take place in Toronto, Canada, from 21-24 June 2009. For more information, contact: World Conference on Disaster Management Team; tel: +1-905-948-0470; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; internet: http://www.wcdm.org/Toronto/toronto.html
INTERNATIONAL DISASTER AND RISK CONFERENCE (IDRC):
This conference, organized by the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, will take place in Chengdu, China, from 13-15 July 2009. For more information, contact: IDRC Chengdu 2009 Secretariat; tel: +86-451-8640-2941; fax: +86-451-8640-2306; e-mail: email@example.com
; internet: http://www.chengdu2009.org
2ND CONFERENCE ON COASTAL ENVIRONMENTAL SENSING NETWORKS (CESN 2009):
This conference will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, US, from 23-24 July 2009. For more information, contact: CESN 2009 Secretariat; tel: +1-617-287-5570; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; internet: http://www.cesn.org/events/cesn09.php
WORLD CLIMATE CONFERENCE-3 (WCC-3):
This conference will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 August - 4 September 2009. For more information, contact: WCC-3 Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8273; fax: +41-22-730-8042; e-mail: email@example.com
; internet: http://www.wmo.int/wcc3
DISASTER MANAGEMENT 2009:
This meeting will take place in the New Forest, UK, from 23-25 September 2009. For more information, contact: Rachel Swinburn, Conference Secretariat; tel: +44-238-029-3223; fax: +44-238-029-2853; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; internet: http://www2.wessex.ac.uk/09-conferences/disaster-management-2009.html
5TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON SEVERE STORMS (ECSS2009):
This conference will take place in Landshut, Germany, from 12-16 October 2009. For more information, contact: ECSS Chair Dr. Nikolai Dotzek; tel: +49-8153-28-1845; fax: +49-8153-28-1841; e-mail: email@example.com
; internet: http://www.essl.org/ECSS/2009
DEALING WITH DISASTER CONFERENCE 2009:
This conference will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 11-12 November 2009. For more information, contact: Dealing with Disasters Conference Committee; tel: +44-191-227-3499; fax: +44-191-227-3473; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; internet: http://www.dealing-with-disasters.org.uk
CITIES ON VOLCANOES 6 (COV6):
This convention will take place in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, from 31 May – 4 June 2010. For more information, contact: COV6 Secretariat; e-mail: email@example.com
; internet: http://www.citiesonvolcanoes6.com