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UNISDR Bulletin

Volume 141 Number 12 | Tuesday, 16 October 2018


The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

9-13 October 2018 | Tunis, Tunisia


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from Tunis, Tunisia at: http://enb.iisd.org/isdr/afrp-acdrr/2018/

The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction took place from 9-13 October in Tunis, Tunisia under the theme “Towards Disaster Risk Informed and Inclusive Sustainable Development.”

The meeting consisted of the 7th Session of the Africa Regional Platform and the 6th High-level Meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and the 4th Arab Conference on DRR. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in collaboration with the League of Arab States (LAS) and the African Union Commission (AUC) organized the meeting which was hosted by the government of Tunisia.

Two declarations were adopted on Saturday, 13 October: the Fourth Arab Conference on DRR Tunis Declaration on DRR; and the Tunis Declaration on Accelerating the Implementation of the Sendai Framework and the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR.

The Platform provided an opportunity for governments and stakeholders to assess progress and reaffirm commitments towards the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 in the two regions. Participants were provided an opportunity to foster cooperation across the regions towards disaster risk informed and inclusive sustainable development, while sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices in advancing DRR. The Platform yielded increased commitments of countries to enhance attention to risk sensitive investments, increase national and local strategies by 2020 in line with Sendai Framework targets, increase cooperation among countries on water related hazards, and enhance engagement of stakeholders with shared responsibilities to implement regional strategies. The outcomes of the event will inform the Global Platform for DRR in Geneva, Switzerland in 2019.

Brief History

Natural hazards, such as floods, droughts, earthquakes and tsunamis, are becoming more regular and intense, increasing the impact on people and communities. Compounding the situation, poor planning, poverty and a range of other underlying factors create conditions of vulnerability that result in insufficient capacity to cope with natural hazards and disasters. 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 achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. DRR includes all the policies, strategies and measures that can make people, cities and countries more resilient to hazards, and reduce risk and vulnerability to disasters. Recognizing that natural hazards can threaten anyone unexpectedly, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) system builds on partnerships and takes a global approach to disaster reduction, seeking to involve every individual and community in moving toward the goals of reducing the loss of lives, socio- economic setbacks and the environmental damages caused by natural hazards. The following highlights the development of the international DRR agenda.

First World Conference On Disaster Reduction: The first World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) convened in Yokohama, Japan in 1994 and saw the adoption of the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World and its Plan of Action. The Yokohama Strategy set guidelines for action on prevention, preparedness and mitigation of disaster risk. These guidelines were based on principles of risk assessment, disaster prevention and preparedness, the capacity to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, and early warning. The strategy also stated that the international community should share technology to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, while demonstrating strong political determination in the field of disaster reduction.

International Strategy For Disaster Reduction: At its 54th session in 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) agreed to establish the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), and an Inter-Agency Secretariat and an Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF/ DR) for the implementation of the ISDR (Resolutions 54/219 and 56/195, respectively). Among its mandated tasks, the IATF/ DR was to convene ad hoc expert meetings on issues related to disaster reduction.

Second World Conference on Disaster Reduction: The Second WCDR convened from 18-22 January 2005 in Kobe, Japan. 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. UNGA Resolution 60/195 endorsed the HFA 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.

Global Platform for DRR: In 2006, the UN 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. It aimed 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. The Global Platform for DRR was formed as an expanded and reformed successor to the IATF/DR, envisaged to serve as the primary multi-stakeholder forum for all parties involved in DRR to raise awareness on DRR, share experience and guide the ISDR system.

The First Session of the Global Platform was held from 5-7 June 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland, and included a high-level dialogue on DRR challenges and opportunities, a series of workshops on DRR as a national priority and integrating DRR into sector agendas, and sessions on assessing and implementing the HFA. At the Second Session of the Global Platform held from 16-19 June 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, participants focused on increasing investment in DRR, reducing disaster risk in a changing climate and enabling community resilience through preventive action.

The Third Session of the Global Platform was held from 8-13 May 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland, and discussions focused mainly on reconstruction and recovery, the economics of  DRR, and synergies with the international climate change and development agenda. The Fourth Session of the Global Platform convened from 19-23 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, and provided an opportunity to review the status of the HFA and encourage information sharing among decision makers, development partners, experts and practitioners. The Fifth Session of the Global Platform convened from 24-26 May 2017 in Cancún, Mexico. A key outcome of the meeting was the release of the Cancún High-Level Communiqué, which commits to, inter alia, implement the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 in coherence with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the New Urban Agenda; and promote people-centered, gender-sensitive, accessible and resilient urban development that supports all of society, including the vulnerable, poor and marginalized.

Third Un World Conference On Drr: This meeting convened from 14-18 March 2015, in Sendai, Japan, and adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The Sendai Framework aims to achieve the following outcome over the next 15 years: substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries. This is intended to be done through four priorities of action (understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance; investing in DRR; and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction), to achieve a set of seven global targets.

Regional Platforms: Regional platforms and conferences in both Africa and Arab States started during the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. Apart from technical discussions, the platforms provide a unique opportunity for governments and stakeholders from both regions to reaffirm commitment to reducing disaster losses through the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). The platforms serve as a forum to exchange experiences on successful DRR practices and innovative approaches.

The Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Platform and the fifth High-Level Meeting on DRR took place in Balaclava, Mauritius, from 22-25 November 2016. From 22-24 November, the Africa Regional Platform convened and focused on enhancing understanding of disaster risk, improving disaster risk governance, increasing national and regional resilience, enhancing disaster preparedness and linking the Sendai Framework on DRR to Africa, through an African programme of work. The 5th High-Level Meeting on DRR convened on 25 November adopting the outcomes of the Platform. Ministers and high-level representatives considered and agreed to the Programme of Action for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 in Africa, and the Mauritius Declaration on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa.

The High-Level Meeting of African Ministers responsible for DDR is mandated to agree and adopt the outcomes and recommendations of the Regional Platform through a Declaration, which is then submitted to the Africa Union Summit for endorsement.

Regional Conferences of The Arab States: The Arab Regional Conference for DRR is a biennial conference that brings together Arab Member States and other stakeholders to review, develop and align regional strategies and action plans to reduce risk and build the resilience of communities and nations to natural hazards.

Arab regional meetings, including those held in Aqaba, Jordan, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and Doha, Qatar, focused on issues relating to local level implementation of the HFA, shaping the Sendai Framework, and updating the Arab strategy and programme of work with prioritized actions for the first two years.

Report of the Meeting

IISD/RS covered a selection of pre-conference events on Tuesday, 9 October and Wednesday, 10 October.

Pre-Conference Events

Innovative Solutions for Dynamic Disaster Risk Financing and Resilience: Barbara Fang, African Risk Capacity (ARC), facilitated the session organized by ARC and Cordaid International, noting that natural disasters affected 95.6 million people in 2017, caused 10,000 deaths, and cost USD335 billion. Economic losses in Africa equaled USD2.9 billion, of which only 0.7% was insured directly, she said, noting that 80% of the major disasters were climate-related. She described ARC as an initiative to pool risk and resources, and provide immediate funding to African governments to respond to natural disasters through early warning, contingency planning, insurance, and adaptation finance.

Thandie Mwape, Partners for Resilience (PfR), presented a case study from Kenya, where a private ranch owner was killed by surrounding communities, who were suffering from drought while the ranch owner was protected through private investments. Mwape said the case highlights how private investment can be oblivious to the needs of communities, and PfR works with governments and communities on engaging communities in decisions regarding private investments, policy formulation, and regulatory frameworks to protect social and environmental concerns.

Ibrahima Sadio Fofana, PfR, presented a case study from the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, noting that the population is heavily dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, particularly cattle breeding and fisheries. He highlighted the importance of coalition-building among civil society organizations (CSOs) to strengthen efforts to respond to the multiple shocks of poverty, overexploitation of natural resources, and climate change. In response to a question on how resilience is measured, Fofana said individual testimonies about changing circumstances over time provide an indicator. Thandie noted that precisely measuring resilience is a challenge, though work on this is underway in collaboration with the London School of Economics.

Amadou Bah, ARC, invited participants to engage in an ARC game on disaster risk management (DRM) decision-making. Participants discussed: the complex links between development and resilience-building, where economic development does not always equate to resilience-building; the importance of measures to promote investments in insurance, including reduction of insurance premiums over time if disasters do not take place; how the risk-aversion levels of individual policy-makers impact DRM decision-making; and the role of science, communities and other stakeholders. Thandie highlighted the importance of ensuring that communities are familiar with decision-making processes such as budget development, so they know how they can influence them.

Spatial Planning and Coastal Resilience: Experiences from African and Arab countries: Mehdi Kattou, CEO, Katsai Production & Communication, invited reflection on spatial planning and coastal resilience. Mohamed Ben Jeddou, Coastal Protection and Planning Agency, Tunisia, underscored the role of spatial planning to account for, and reduce, climate risks.

Riadh Mouakher, Minister of Local Affairs and Environment, Tunisia, introduced ongoing projects in Tunisia aimed to improve coastal resilience through preservation of ecosystems. He reflected on the need for an international approach to manage shared responsibilities, expressing hope for new partnerships to strengthen vulnerable areas. He identified the need to address the lack of capacity to address pressures induced by climate change through improving databases for monitoring coastal areas and early warning systems.

El kebir Mdarhri Alaoui, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tunisia, spoke of the daily impact of natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, reporting that at least 15,000 disasters are linked to issues of water in the Arab world. He pointed out challenges of improving technology to be able to better manage information and influence planning, as well as considering all populations, including the most vulnerable.

Saloua Khiari, Governor of Nabeul, Tunisia, shared experiences in addressing floods in the Nabeul, calling for a strategic vision that can be translated to action to protect populations from the damage from natural disasters. She highlighted that vulnerable social groups were most impacted by the floods, requiring improved and updated planning.

Adel Abdouli, Coastal Protection and Planning Agency, Tunisia, presented elements and factors that lead to floods as well as resulting impacts on tourism and coastal activities. He shared indicators from a study that foresaw 68% of Tunisia’s coastal areas vulnerable to water immersion and described the need for early warning systems to help contain risks, such as lack of drinking water.

Hela Tlemceni-Mzoughi, General Directorate, Land-use Planning, Tunisia, reviewed the legal and technical tools of institutional frameworks to adapt to climate change and protect against natural disasters. She highlighted the set of rules in spatial planning to safeguard natural and cultural sites, ensure public health and harmonize economic, social, and environmental development.

Ahmed Aly Badawy, National Research of Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG), Egypt, shared experience in limiting risks while supporting sustainable development, describing progress towards building a comprehensive plan to guarantee long-term safety and identifying the challenge of competing interests of different ministries and stakeholders.

Moussa Sall, Center for Ecological Monitoring, Senegal, reported on regional coordination across 11 countries to fight coastal erosion. He called for good decisions to be made for the interests of all, based on reliable information acquired through appropriate mechanisms to measure and produce usable information.

Sheme Mekki, UNDP Sudan, described drought, flash floods, and urbanization as key impacts affecting her country, while calling for strategies to improve disaster preparedness, rather than response strategies, and highlighting the value of including DRR in university curricula.

Boussoffara Faouzi, Association of Architects of Djerba, Tunisia, discussed working with CSOs to steer, support, and prevent disasters. He reiterated the need for integrated urban management and governance to overcome weak coordination, and scientific rigor to help build trust among stakeholders.

During ensuing discussions, participants raised questions on inter alia: aligning global and national strategies; improving efficacy of feasibility studies and spatial zoning to address disaster risks; and leveraging political will to implement strategies.

DRR and Violent Conflict in Africa and Arab States: Opening the session, facilitator Katie Peters, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), noted that 58% of disaster deaths occurred in 30 of the most fragile states; funding for fragile states is inadequate, the focus is more on conflict than DRR; and for every USD100 spent on response, only USD1.30 is directed towards DRR.

Participants reflected on whether DDR is a neglected area of work. Supporting this proposition, one participant drew attention to the Boko Harem conflict in northern Nigeria and challenges involved in working in this region. Another asserted that DRR should comprise a hybrid of humanitarian and long-term investment, stressing the need to invest in community resilience and mitigation. Offering another dimension, one participant pointed out that conflicts are often triggered by politicians, adding that donors should be encouraged to focus on prevention rather than response. Other issues raised included: DRR responses being contingent on the extent to which the Sendai Framework is implemented in country; the need for DRR preparedness in conflict areas to focus on peace building; and “unpacking” DRR in terms of mainstreaming; and “building back better” in the context of recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Peters highlighted the ODI report on DRR and Violent Conflict in Africa and Arab states, explaining that existing DRR policy tools and frameworks were examined to determine what is viable. On the global level, she noted the lack of reference to conflict, with violence, fragility and peace and said that the only reference to security in the Sendai Framework is related to food. She emphasized the need to recognize that conflict can increase vulnerability to natural disasters. At the national level, Peters explained that five countries were looked at in terms of national DRR polices that included reference to conflict, noting that where it is included, reference is either limited, not included in a meaningful way, or not mentioned when describing countries experiencing armed conflicts or post-conflict situations. Participants then considered the extent to which national DRR policies adequately consider conflict.

Adessou Kossivi Nevaeme, Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction, shared experiences from Central Africa, giving the example of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire he explained that resources were diverted from drainage infrastructure leaving communities more vulnerable to flooding. 

Kassem Chaalan, Lebanese Red Cross, pointed out that in 2017, in the Middle East, disaster casualties accounted for 611 deaths, while 39,652 deaths were attributed to conflicts. He stressed the need to build trust with communities when undertaking DRR operations in conflict sensitive areas and for: a strict volunteer framework; volunteer training; and conflict sensitivity including do no harm.

Sally Tillsley, Concern Worldwide, discussed approaches to DRR, noting that conflict is a key driver for global food insecurity and emphasized the need for an integrated approach to programming with the ultimate aim being to enhance resilience. She explained that her organization is working in the conflict context rather than on, however noting that for situations of intense conflict, DRR is not viable and the response has to be humanitarian. She further addressed the challenges of community driven approaches in terms of scale, where changes in the broader conflict dynamic can wipe out gains on the ground.

Participants considered the next steps and were invited to share ideas, stories and experiences aimed at revising the ODI working paper and developing a community of practice.

Is Resilience Possible in Conflict Affected States: Moderator Mawanda Shaban, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said climate change exacerbates hazards in conflict affected states, underscoring the need for practical and innovative solutions. He framed discussions with an aim to provide a global overview, while specifically discussing experiences in Palestine, Syria and Yemen.

Katie Peters, ODI, compared how ‘resilience’ appears across global frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework, the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and others, concluding that the combination of each is necessary. She underscored that people who suffer most severely are often the poorest. Describing resilience as a way to think about systems and “break out of silos,” she noted recommendations such as the opportunity to look beyond the DRR community for guidance to advance the DRR agenda.

Abu Thaher, Environment Quality Authority, Palestine, introduced constraints and challenges in the region, specifically in Palestine. He listed challenges such as: environmental degradation of soil and water by explosives; lack of access to water resources; and capacity for enforcement. He identified achievements, including the development of a National Policy Agenda 2017-2022, where the environment is considered as a crosscutting issue and strategy.

Habib Mounayer, Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society, provided insight to programmes in Syria aimed to build livelihoods for those who have lost assets due to conflict, illustrating the link to improved resilience. He recounted challenges, such as time needed for government approvals and availability of volunteer and staff. He described future plans to include monitoring and evaluation and continued capacity building.

Mohammad Odeh, Head, National Disaster Risk Management Center, Palestine, explained that Palestine is the “last direct military occupied territory in the world,” describing the impact of challenges in managing an area without borders. He explained how the Palestine DRM is necessary in order to shift from “reactive to proactive” approaches and reported on Palestine’s use of the Sendai Framework to begin addressing challenges.

Mohammed Al Faqih, Yemen Red Crescent Society, provided insight of building resilience in Yemen, describing the layers of complicated challenges and conflicts. He provided examples of how to overcome some challenges, such as the development of a basic fund to treat injuries to volunteers. Explaining that more than three-quarters of the population needs humanitarian assistance, he outlined efforts to engage stakeholders and local communities to advise and create community partnerships for development.

During discussions, participants raised questions on, inter alia: approaches to enhancing DRR in conflict affected areas; coordination among climate change, disaster risk and biodiversity agendas; need to improve and raise the profile of community-based resilience approaches; and opportunities to address displaced communities.

Loy Rego, Mainstreaming Adaptation, Resilience and Sustainability into development into daily life Practitioners Network, concluded the session with reflections, underscoring the complexities imposed by climate change and conflict on DRR strategies. Recognizing the need to build resilience across different contexts, he urged participants to remain committed. He recommended the use of the “Talanoa Dialogues” used in climate discussions as an inclusive and participatory exercise of transparent dialogue, used to share experience and build empathy in order to make wise decisions.

Linking DRR, Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Horn of Africa: This session facilitated by Thandie Mwape, discussed opportunities, challenges, gaps, and linkages in DRR policy frameworks at the regional, national, and local level in countries in the Horn of Africa.

Gatkuoth Kai, African Union Commission, noted that the regional policy framework in the Horn of Africa includes the 2005 Africa Regional Strategy for DRR, and the subsequent Programme of Action to implement the Strategy. He described capacity and human resource limitations in the region to monitor and report progress regularly on implementation, and efforts to harmonize reporting with the Sendai Framework to reduce the burden of reporting. Of the 55 countries in the African region, he said 32 have DRR policies, though only the policies of 16 countries are resonant with the Sendai Framework and Africa Regional Strategy.

Banash Joshua, South Sudan, described the specific challenges of developing DRR policies in countries recovering from conflicts, and the evolution of his country’s policy from humanitarian response to DRM. He said the policy is still being drafted, but the extra time taken to develop it has helped to ensure that no one is left out, and the experience of other countries is considered.

Tareile Aga, Ethiopia, outlined the evolution of a 1993 disaster management policy to a 2013 DRR policy, now being reviewed for alignment with the Sendai Framework. Although his country has a national climate adaptation policy, he said it is not yet linked with the DRR policy, because it is managed by the Ministry of Environment.

Veronique Baker, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Seychelles, described the shifting institutional arrangements for DRR in her country, from the Office of President, to the Ministry of Environment, and subsequent mainstreaming in all sectors. She noted that the current national policy, which was drafted by the Ministry of Environment and focuses predominantly on environment-related disasters, is now being updated to take on other disasters. Baker described: national efforts to ensure that each sectoral ministry has a DRR specialist, to mainstream DRR in every sector; a DRR fund for emergencies; and a contingency fund held by the Ministry of Finance.

Zeituna Roba, Cordaid Kenya, described efforts to engage county governments in developing local level DRR policies as part of Kenya’s new Constitutional drive towards devolution, instead of waiting for national-level direction. She highlighted the need for monitoring tools to enable county governments to monitor progress and gaps, and for partnerships between government and non-government organizations.

Ogwang David-Omega, Care International, highlighted bottom-up efforts in Uganda to ensure that inputs from the village- and parish-level consultations feed into district-level ordinances, and eventually to the national DRR policy. He said this ensures greater community ownership, and due consideration of alternatives to address community concerns.

Hassan Ahmed, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, described the efforts of his organization to encourage a development, rather than humanitarian, approach to disasters in the Horn of Africa region, and to promote integration across sectors. The current focus is on a regional framework to integrate DRR and climate change responses, he said. Among challenges, he listed fragmentation of initiatives at the regional and national level; a focus on a project- rather than programme-based approach; mobilizing resources for development, rather than humanitarian, responses; mainstreaming DRR across all sectors; and involving the private sector.

Participants discussed the need for: moving away from humanitarian responses to disasters, where donors decide priorities; a focus on implementation, not only policy development; involvement of the private sector; integration of DRR, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem management and restoration efforts; consideration of national challenges while developing regional frameworks; and promoting a common understanding of DRR among stakeholders, particularly communities and politicians, to ensure they speak the same language.

Making Cities Sustainable and Resilient: Nuha Eltinay, Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI), provided an overview of a synthesis report on implementing the Sendai Framework in the Arab region, using the UNISDR Disaster Resilience Scorecard and an “Open Data Infrastructure for Urban Resilience” roadmap developed by Resurgence. She highlighted efforts to conduct city resilience assessments and develop Resilience Action Plans, while emphasizing the need to shift from DRM to DRR strategies, and pay close attention to who the stakeholders are, and whether they are genuinely being included.

Mark Harvey, CEO, Resurgence, described efforts to engage stakeholders, including online, to engage different actors, encourage collaboration, and create a learning community. Describing trends emerging from the city resilience assessments, he said Gulf States generally score high on infrastructure and city-level DRM procedures that coordinate with the national level, but less wealthy populations score higher on social resilience. Calling on Gulf States to invest more in community engagement and communication, especially in informal settlements, he underscored the need to move from diagnostic work to practical and inclusive project development, supporting learning communities inside and between cities.

Maha Mustafa El Tahir, Ministry of Infrastructure & Transportation, Sudan, highlighted lessons learned from resilience assessments using scorecards in ten cities in Sudan, including the need to build capacity to put plans into action. Following the assessments, she said a budget line allocated for emergency spending was moved to annual spending, resulting in improved resilience of the cities.

Yetunde Abdul, BRE Trust, described creating methodologies to develop benchmarks and performance indicators for stakeholders to assess progress on sustainability, quantify performance, and identify areas for improvement. She also addressed the crosscutting challenge of economic viability, necessary for success.

During discussions, participants shared experiences in conducting city DRR assessments and explored the tools available. They stressed stakeholder engagement, with additional efforts to engage the most vulnerable.

Regional Assessment Report for DRR for the Arab States: This session launched a process to develop a Regional Assessment Report (RAR) for DRR in the Arab States. Sujit Mohanty, UNISDR, proposed modelling the RAR on the UNISDR Global Assessment Report (GAR), which he said is not only a product, but also a process that brings together a network of people and institutions. He proposed a biennial report for the Arab region that could serve to inform governments and other stakeholders and support evidence-based decision-making.

Saira Ahmed, UNISDR, noted that each GAR focuses on a single thematic area related to DRR, such as poverty, and political and economic imperatives and constraints for increased public investment in DRR. She proposed a similar approach for the RAR, which she said could: enhance a regional understanding of trends and patterns of risk; increase understanding of DRR from development, climate, and conflict perspectives; provide focused policy recommendations for the region; and facilitate understanding and tracking of Sendai targets. She presented a draft outline, which included, inter alia: trends and patterns of disaster risk in the region; regional progress on DRR; the role of disaster risk governance; poverty, inequality, and disaster risks; vulnerability reduction; the disaster-conflict interface; and DRR and climate change.

Katie Peters, ODI, said the RAR will help to fill a void for DRR policy makers in the region, where many struggle to find relevant information for decision-making. Drawing on experiences in other regions, she said the Asia Pacific Disaster Report helps to provide a deeper understanding of disaster risks; offers policy options and tools; and targets a broad audience. She emphasized that the RAR should showcase efforts to promote DRR in areas of violent conflict.

Chadi Abdallah, National Council for Scientific Research, Lebanon, said the RAR process could: support the development of a regional database and methodological framework for DRR; advance the implementation of the Sendai Framework; strengthen national platforms; highlight disaster risks and scenarios; conduct disaster risk assessments, including for complex disasters; identify the status of geospatial information; and provide guidance, methodologies and standards for risk assessment, disaster risk modelling, and the use of data.

Fadi Hamdan, Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC), drew attention to the large gap in development financing and infrastructure investments in the Arab region, saying this should drive efficient and safe use of existing resources, including through investments in more resilient development and infrastructure. He proposed the consideration of poverty, inequality, violent extremism, water poverty, urban migration, socio-economic exclusion, governance deficits, and social and political drivers in the RAR, while calling for improved science-policy interface in the region.

Stephan Bass, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), called for the RAR to promote: engagement of crucial sectors such as agriculture; a move from national planning to local action; and integration of climate change and DRR efforts. He highlighted the vulnerability of the agriculture and food security sectors, particularly in the Arab region which is prone to multiple hazards such as climate extremes, animal and plant pests and diseases, and conflicts.

Nina Stuurman, International Organization for Migration, highlighted possibilities for collaboration, including through a greater focus on migration due to environmental causes and natural disasters in the region; and shared data on a displacement tracking matrix, especially in countries in conflict.

In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the need for: financial resources and capacity building for an inclusive process to produce the RAR; aligning the content of the report with global processes; and consideration of new threats and solutions.

Africa and Arab States Regional Orientation and Consultation on a Strategic Approach to Capacity Development for Implementation of the Sendai Framework:  Opening the session, Sanjaya Bhatia, UNISDR, noted that capacity development activities for implementing the Sendai Framework are often fragmented, incoherent, and affected by competing interests. To overcome these challenges, he said a global strategic capacity development approach to promote risk-informed sustainable development by 2030 was being developed. Describing regional and global consultations held in 2017 and 2018 respectively, he said a zero draft of the approach identifies four building blocks for effective capacity development: demand-driven and needs based; government owned and led; coherent within and between all levels of government; and practicable, replicable, and localized.

For effective capacity development, Bhatia highlighted the need for: adequate information on risks; knowledge management; integrating DRR into all relevant sectors; awareness raising at high levels; DRR strategies for local governments; and capacity building for UN country teams.

To anchor capacity development efforts, Bhatia called for national and local capacity development plans that clearly map out who is doing what, where the gaps are, and what more needs to be done; and capacity building indicators to measure, monitor, and evaluate progress.

He also described the development of an online “capacity development marketplace” where service providers can connect with governments requiring capacity development services; the UN Development Assistance Framework, a strategic medium-term results framework describing the collective vision and response of the UN system to national development priorities; and the Sendai Framework Monitoring System, a global online tool to monitor the implementation of the Sendai Framework targets.

In the ensuing discussion, participants exchanged ideas on: integrated DRR development plans at the country level; modalities for operationalizing the capacity development marketplace, including how to screen potential service providers; and establishing national DRR bodies to enable governments to coordinate, validate, and map efforts, while avoiding duplication.

Intergenerational Dialogue on Underlying Disaster Risk Drivers: This session was facilitated by Sandra Delali Kemeh, UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY).

Nina Stuurman said migration is a contributor to disaster risk, but it also holds positive potential for DRR and resilience building, as migrants have unique experiences and capacities that can be leveraged to deal with disasters. She supported the inclusion of migrants in: the design and implementation of DRR; urban policy formulation and planning; managing relocations to reduce disaster risk; and preparing for and managing evacuation. Stuurman also called for recognition of the interdependent and transnational nature of the drivers of forced migration.

Nuha Eltinay described efforts to address urban drivers of risk, including by making urban environments suitable for children and youth; increasing the capacity of urban governments; and addressing urban poverty.

Babatunde Iyanda, ARC, described ARC as a member state driven programme to help African Union member states plan and respond to disaster risks through index-based insurance. Highlighting that the programme prioritizes the most vulnerable, which includes children and youth, he noted efforts to build capacity and awareness among youth through the development of curricular courses for educational institutions in Africa.

Julius Kabubi, UNISDR, said climate change acts on all three drivers of disaster risk – hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. While noting that the Sendai Framework draws on decades of experience, he said implementation is slow, and challenges in implementation include: poverty and limited livelihood solutions; other overriding priorities for governments; low levels of risk governance in Africa; and inadequate early warning systems.

Phantus Wambiya, UN MGCY Focal Point for Eastern and Southern Africa, described successful advocacy efforts to influence the appointment of a Climate Change Council and the adoption of a climate change law in Kenya. He highlighted the adverse effects of climate change on pastoralists in his region, saying they do not as yet have access to insurance mechanisms.

Reda Shmait, UN MGCY DRR Focal Point for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), noted that while disasters drive migration, migration also drives disasters. Calling for the involvement of youth in policies on migration and DRR, she described efforts in Lebanon to create safe spaces for migrants during disasters.

Mohamed Edabbar, UN MGCY Focal Point for MENA, called for the involvement of youth in the development of policies in the Arab region.

In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the need for meaningful, increased, and active participation of youth in DRR policies; and the limitations of index-based insurance.

Multi-Sectoral Governance in the Implementation of the Sendai Framework at the Local Level: Moderator Tarryn Quayle, ICLEI Africa, invited discussion of experiences in implementing DRR activities in Africa, identifying how to promote DRR activities at the local level.

Explaining how the Sendai Framework links disasters and development, Mutarika Pruksapong, UNISDR, noted that target (e) of the Framework aims to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020. She referenced four priority areas: understanding risks; strengthening governance; investing in resilience; and enhancing preparedness.

Quayle shared results from a collaboration with UNISDR to produce preliminary scorecard assessments on resilience in 50 cities in Africa. Noting that cities have a varied understanding of DRR, she highlighted the need to enhance: cooperation between local and national governments, and across sectors; and access to reliable information and data as a challenge, requiring increased financial allocation. In conclusion, she described existing initiatives to improve urban resilience, including: the Transformative Actions Program to provide support to projects; and Cities with Nature, an initiative to mainstream nature in urban planning.

Samuel Sserunkuma, Deputy Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda, described a national DRM platform that promotes the involvement of stakeholders, and identified areas for further work, including capacity building at the community level. He said local elections were recently held after 17 years, which will increase momentum by identifying local leadership to champion DRR. He flagged the need for funding to carry out further activities, such as analysis of the causes and drivers of disaster; dissemination of information to stakeholders; and identification of actionable measures.

Doris Chandi Ombara, City Manager, Kisumu, Kenya, urged moving past “boardroom blueprints” towards specific timeframes for specific departments, to improve results. Describing how risk mapping facilitated the creation of a County Integrated Development Plan, Ombara underscored the value of educating politicians to demystify DRR and promote a paradigm shift from disaster response to disaster preparedness.

Abdou Sane, UNISDR Champion for DRR, Senegal, said while laws exist throughout Africa to promote resilience, implementation remains a challenge. He asserted that DRR committees should meet assigned deadlines, and called for improved collaboration on disaster prevention, while emphasizing that the main challenge is behavior rather than a lack of resources. Sane concluded that that there is are no “natural disasters,” only natural hazards to which exposure must be better understood.

Mark Harvey shared the results of scorecard assessments undertaken in 25 cities in the Arab Region, and highlighted the need to connect meteorological agencies to city administrations, in order to produce localized weather forecasting, including for informal settlements. He described early warning systems as social systems underpinned by technology to reach out to populations, while proposing using inspiration from nature to produce effective ‘ecosystem’ design for communications.

During discussions, participants shared national perspectives, named challenges such as social vulnerabilities, and identified a key role for the private sector in widening DRR opportunities.

Meeting Sessions

The Africa-Arab Platform took place from Thursday 11, October to Saturday 13, October: consisting of an Africa-Arab High-Level Session, as well six working sessions and special and side events. IISD/RS covered all the working sessions and selected special and side events. Discussions on the Tunis Declaration took place on Friday, 12 October in the Arab States and Africa plenaries, and on Saturday, 13 October in the Arab and Africa Ministerial Plenaries. An event was held to commemorate World Tsunami Day; and the International Day for Disaster Reduction was also observed.

During her opening remarks, Kirsi Madi, Director, UNISDR, said global extreme weather events have doubled in the past 40 years, with severe impacts experienced in Africa and Arab States, where conflict and disasters are driving food insecurity and displacement. She noted the recent release of two major reports: the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which warns that millions could be plunged into poverty unless action is taken on reducing greenhouse gases; and the UNISDR report on Economic Losses, Poverty and Disasters, which demonstrated that 91% of the disasters in the past 20 years were climate-related. She urged countries that have not done so to adopt national strategies, and move from planning to implementation while recognizing links between DRR, climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, welcomed cooperation between African and Arab States in the first joint event on DRR, saying the two regions face similar natural and anthropogenic disasters. She described efforts by the AUC to establish a fully functional DRR unit, while calling for: moving on from writing strategies to actually strengthening implementation at the local, regional, and national levels; capacity building; better information to measure progress; and mainstreaming of DRR in development plans. Noting that the DRR agenda in Africa is almost entirely funded by the EU, she said this is not a sustainable situation, and called on countries to invest in DRR as a matter of survival.

Abdellatif Obaid, Vice Secretary General, LAS, listed hazards from sandstorms, droughts, floods, and fires in the Arab region. He highlighted the LAS’s coordination role, and the history of cooperation between African and Arab states in addressing natural disasters, while noting progress in creating a dedicated Arab Africa fund to provide resources for DRR.

Riadh Mouakhar described recent losses of life, infrastructure, agriculture, and industries caused by floods in the Nabeul, Tunisia, saying losses from disasters are higher in developing countries because they lack resources to invest in resilience. He supported: joint efforts and coordination between organizations and countries; EWS, including new technologies; and sharing of experiences and best practices. Noting Tunisia’s vulnerability to floods, locusts, droughts, fires, industrial accidents, and oil spills in the Mediterranean, he described efforts to address these vulnerabilities through infrastructure projects to reduce losses; make DRR part of the development plans of local authorities; an insurance fund to cover losses due to natural disasters; and work on a national DRR strategy through an inclusive process.

Key Presentations: Amjad Abbashar, Chief, UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, highlighted coherence among the Sendai Framework with Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, all of which require an inclusive approach involving all stakeholders. He outlined the four priority actions and 7 targets in the Sendai Framework, drawing specific connections to the mutually reinforcing elements the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. He identified the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa and the Arab Strategy for DRR 2030 as opportunities for regional coordination and concrete opportunities to strengthen resilience.

Gatkuoth Kai noted Africa’s particular vulnerability to environmental hazards, reviewing the development from the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR to the Programme of Action for Implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa as well as the Africa Risk Capacity, a treaty with 33 signatory countries. He shared future work plans to submit a Biennial report on DRR in Africa by 2020, popularize the Programme of Action and continue to mobilize resources for and support for a Science and Technology Advisory and Youth Advisory Board.

Saloua Khiari shared a video depicting floods from September 2018, recounting the heavy rains that caused six deaths along with substantial material losses. She discussed steps taken to protect local citizens and coordinate with regional and national interventions, noting that the most vulnerable communities were most affected. She concluded that the experience has resulted in valuable lessons that would be used to develop future strategies.

Africa-Arab High-Level Session: Enhancing coherence among DRR, Climate Change and SDGs for inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in Africa and Arab regions: During the session, Moderator Jill De Villiers, Executive Producer, CNBC Africa, invited panelists to share progress made to stimulate coherent and inclusive sustainable development. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG), UNISDR, noted increased global awareness around DRR. Reporting that 26 million people a year are driven to poverty because of disaster, she reflected on the link between SDGs, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework. Acknowledging that 90 countries currently have a disaster loss database, she concluded that much of the impacts from disasters remain undocumented.

Nada El Agizy, Director, Sustainable Development and International Cooperation, LAS, shared mechanisms developed to support the 22-member states to achieve sustainable development, including inter alia: setting SDG priorities for the region; developing a science and technology network; and supporting sustainable finance cooperation.

Adalah Atteereh, Minister of Environment, Palestine, recounted the value of DRR and sustainable development for Palestine, lamenting the “horrendous acts of colonial occupation” that bar effective achievement of goals and targets. She looked to other country experiences of policies to learn lessons, saying that “if we do not do this we will pay the ultimate price for disasters.”

Sheikh Saleh Habimana, Ambassador of Rwanda to Tunisia, reflected on the power of people who have survived genocide, saying that his population would not lose another million people. As a young nation, he celebrated concrete progress that has been made through political will, including national laws, policies and coordinated ministries.

Khangeziwe Mabuza, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister Office, eSwatini, noted progress in the Africa-Arab region through the implementation of specific programmes designed to achieve the four priority areas of the Sendai Framework, adding that eSwatini has benefitted from the operational Programme of Action, which has informed national systems on building DRR through coherence with African Union priorities. She drew attention to the creation of a national DRM agency in 2015, mandated to drive the national DRM agenda. She also observed that all the global and regional initiatives since Sendai and the extended Programme of Action have contributed to establishing an EWS and minimizing impact of hazards through community-based DRR.

Mami Mizutori reflected on incentivizing the private sector, making public-private-partnerships work, noting that the private sector has not always been part of the discussion but achieving the SDGs provides emerging opportunities. 

Adalah Atteereh recalled the difficult situation in Palestine due to the occupation and limited access to resources, stressing the need for funding to implement the Sendai Framework into national strategies.

During the discussion that followed, questions were raised on: what to fund, in addition to the need for funding; the implications of mass migration due to extreme weather events; and targeting disaster prevention rather than response.

Working Session One: Economics of DRR: Pier Paolo Balladelli, UNDP, Resident Coordinator, Angola, moderated the session, highlighting activities in Angola aimed at developing a national plan for disaster preparedness, contingency and recovery, focused on scenario-based risk analysis of projected economic losses, and risk informed development planning. 

Roberto Rudari, CIMA Research Foundation, shared experiences on risk profiling in sub-Saharan Africa, explaining that 16 probabilistic risk profiles for floods and droughts were being developed, aimed at: understanding and quantifying risk; enhancing DRR skills; and changing the attitudes of DRR experts and practitioners. He noted that the emphasis was on transitioning from a qualitative to quantitative approach aimed at enumerating impacts.

Alphonse Hishamunda, Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees, Rwanda, highlighted the National Risk Atlas of Rwanda, supported by a number of international partners, aimed at developing a comprehensive disaster risk profile for Rwanda covering five major natural hazards prevailing in Rwanda: droughts, floods, landslides, earthquakes and windstorms.

On risk investment, Fadi Hamdam, emphasized the need to consider if risk informed development should relate to future efforts, or if it also includes reducing existing risk, adding that existing risk considerations require more costly and innovative solutions. Making a distinction between intensive and extensive risks, he characterized the former as rare events, including hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes; and extensive risks relating to regular events such as floods and droughts which affect vulnerable communities, adding that risk information generally focusing on intensive events.

Thandi Mwape discussed responsible business investment aimed at positively impacting communities, noting that development often causes more problems than intended when communities are displaced by dams, for example, or incidents where people revolt against companies perceived to be depriving them access to natural resources. She explained how PfR is trying to advance understanding of what responsible investments look like and that this includes: making the business case for resilience building and ensuring that sustainability is incorporated in business planning; and creating a social contract between businesses and communities.

Citing figures relating to economic losses, Orsola Lussignoli, BMZ, Germany, pointed out that in 2017, USD300 billion was lost due to natural disasters, emphasizing the need for developing key resilient infrastructure as part of DRM. Advocating two approaches for DRM, she explained that short-term development assistance bridges the gap between human assistance and long-term cooperation; while longer term development is aimed at improving public investment planning.

Participants discussed: risk communication; quantifying resilience; addressing uncertainties related to numbers; and how to integrate qualitative data into quantitative analyses. 

Working Session Two: DRR Strategies: This session focused on target (e) of the Sendai Framework which calls for a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020. The session was facilitated by Kirsi Madi. Hazar Belli AbdelKefi, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Tunisia, highlighted the process of developing an inclusive national DRR strategy in Tunisia. He explained that the strategy is inter alia: based on national reports for 2005-2015, an assessment of institutional frameworks in Tunisia, and a feasibility study; identifies short, medium, and long-term priorities; promotes participatory governance mechanisms and coordination between sectors; includes a legislative framework; and establishes a National Platform for DRR, under the National Council on DRR. 

Stern Mwakalimi Kita, Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Malawi, said Malawi’s DRR strategy includes the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II which consists of DRM elements, and a National Resilience Strategy that has just been finalized. He highlighted the role of an economic assessment that substantiated the benefits of investing in DRR and galvanized political commitment for the national strategy. Among other lessons learned, he listed: the identification of DRR champions to lead integration of DRR into national policies and frameworks; strong mechanisms for coordination, reporting, and financing; a holistic approach that includes both urban and rural areas; alignment across sectors; and the inclusion of as many stakeholders as possible.

Jo Scheuer, Director for Climate Change and DRR, UNDP, highlighted efforts within the UN to integrate efforts towards DRR, the SDGs, and the Paris Agreement. He said achieving target (e) should not just become a “tick box” activity that is completed when a strategy is adopted, but should also encompass the implementation of the strategy. He highlighted political commitment at the highest level of government; integration across sectors; legal frameworks; institutional clarity; finance; the involvement of the private sector; and a truly inclusive, multi stakeholder approach as key factors for effectiveness.

Khaled Abu Aisheh, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Jordan, described coordination between local and national governments as a key challenge. He said full autonomy helped the city of Aqaba decide its own approach and integrate DRR with existing development strategies instead of developing an independent strategy. The city has voluntary citizen groups as first responders, he informed participants, while highlighting the importance of: increased awareness of all sectors; the role of the private sector; investments by city governments; and a key role for women.

María Mercedes Martínez, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), highlighted the role of laws and regulations in providing a legal and institutional basis for DRM, assigning roles and responsibilities, establishing incentives, and prioritizing resources for community-level work. She described a global study on the effectiveness of laws in DRR produced by IFRC and UNDP, which highlighted the importance of laws that regulate physical planning aspects in DRR, including approvals related to building codes, land use planning, environment, climate change, and development. Describing key gaps and challenges, she said the study found that local governments are expected to respond to disasters but lack the means; even DRM funds tend to favor response; there are few mechanisms for monitoring and oversight; and clear direction for EWS is lacking.

Working Session Three: The Role of Disaster Prevention, Preparedness, Early Warning, Response and Recovery in Achieving Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Africa and Arab States: Kahled Al-Mekarad, Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, Kuwait, moderated the session. Habsa Ahmed, Risk Manager, Sudan, highlighted the media’s role in disaster preparedness, early warning and emergency response.

Elizabeth Petheo, Miyamoto International, provided an overview of global best practices for earthquake response and the role of private sector, emphasizing that strategic investment in DRR can be cost effective; DRR programmes strengthen public institutions and facilitate private network collaborations; and engaging the private sector is critical for eliciting a strong response to disasters. She provided an overview of the USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Ecuador Building Resilience Program, a collaboration with local authorities and disaster-affected communities to promote the building of earthquake-resistant homes, which involved a 20-hour hour training programme, targeting nearly 750 homeowners, local builders, and masons on cost-effective solutions for constructing seismically sound structures.

 Donna Pierre, Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS), presented the CREWS initiative, which supports least developed countries and small island developing States to significantly increase their capacity to generate and communicate effective, impact-based, multi-hazard, gender-informed, early warnings to protect lives, livelihoods, and assets. She explained that CREWS contributing members pledge funds into a trust fund and activities are carried out with implementing partners, and a lead institution in the country. Citing African examples from Burkina Faso, the Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger she said that the initiative has only been operational for one year and the aim is to develop a community of practice, and recommendations include: taking stock of what currently exists; pursing partnerships based on comparative advantages; and adopting a people-centered approach.

Iyad Nasr, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reflected on the role of the UN in terms of disaster preparedness and humanitarian response to people in need. He called for: allocating adequate resources; understanding disasters and risks faced in order to devise effective strategies and polices; taking into account sustainability and resilience when the disaster is over; and working ahead of time through disaster risk mitigation planning and analysis. He concluded by emphasizing that risk prediction for a crisis is not an indication of weakness.

Working Session Four: Climate and Disaster Risk: Engaging Communities for Inclusive DRM: This session was facilitated by Mohammed El-Makkawi, Governor of Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon. Tabi Joda, Global Non-State Actors DRR Network, urged consideration of: disaster management and climate risks as development, rather than environmental, issues; communities as custodians, not recipients, of solutions; social and political vulnerabilities, including inequities and injustices; and social bonds within communities. He also emphasized respect for indigenous knowledge, and demystification of global policy frameworks for local communities.

Wadid Erian Mansour, University of Cairo, Egypt, said the LAS deals with issues from a regional, national, and local perspectives. He called for common DRR policies in the region, to deal with transboundary disasters.

Ibidun Adelekan, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, noted that small “everyday” disasters such as flash floods are not reflected in international databases, and highlighted the need for: local data collection to inform community efforts; dedicated budgets for DRR at the local level; local risk mapping; solutions to address corruption, which affects the DRR capability of local areas; capacity building; collaboration; investments in local science, technology, and innovation; and local stakeholder platforms.

Nuha El Tinay highlighted capacity building for communities to integrate DRR budgets and targets into development planning; and recognition of climate change as a threat multiplier and a security threat. She called for a better understanding of what communities expect from practitioners, and the practical relevance of the knowledge and information that is shared with communities.

Responding to the presentations, Tarryn Quayle, ICLEI Africa, called for closer links between decision-makers and researchers for “co-design” and “co-production of research,” to make it more relevant for policy making.

Mamy Razakanaivo, Cellule de Prévention et Gestion des Urgences, Madagascar, described disaggregated data as a fundamental requirement, for use in decision making and to map socio-economic vulnerabilities.

Doris Chandi Ombara described DRR efforts in her city, starting with a relatively small investment to “know your city” through interactive GIS mapping, for a clearer picture of threats and vulnerabilities. She also outlined the benefits of recruiting local volunteers to help DRR efforts like managing drainage to reduce flooding, and agreed that local government should include specific budgets for DRR.

Facilitator Mohammed El-Makkawi presented DRR efforts in Mount Lebanon Governorate to deal with old and new threats, including flooding, which he said is unusual in arid areas but increasingly more frequent. Efforts include increasing the capacity of disaster management organizations at the local and provincial level; improved early warning systems (EWS); and several committees for sensitization, recovery and planning. He noted the need for bilateral agreements with neighboring countries to respond to transboundary emergencies.

A participant commented that while climate change impacts were often mentioned by the panelists, the contribution of locally mined minerals, particularly oil, to causing the disasters has not been discussed.

Emphasizing that gender and DRR are crosscutting issues, Kirsi Madi noted that if both are not addressed it would be difficult to achieve sustainable development and that it is not possible to build resilience without factoring in the equal and active participation of women and men, and boys and girls, through the Sendai Framework people-centered approach.  

Jean D’Cunha, UN Women, highlighted the gender dimensions of climate change, noting that small scale subsistence farmers, for example, contribute less to GHG emissions and human induced disasters. She also added that women: disproportionately experience economic losses during disasters; are vulnerable to sexual exploitation in disaster situations; do not always have the option to migrate; and are marginalized from decision-making at all levels, and yet are the first responders during disasters. In terms of lessons learned, she emphasized the need for: sex disaggregated data; research on vulnerability, drivers and capacity, in consultation with affected communities, to be built into national policies and plans.

Iman El Rafei, Governor, Zgharta, Lebanon, emphasized that development should focus on enabling and including women, noting that in Lebanon, women make up 50.6% of society. Highlighting implementation from 2010-15 she pointed to a paradigm shift from awareness and advocating to integration of gender in all DRR actions and the need to ensure that women have adequate capacities to act as first responders.

Richard Asaba Bagonza, Kampala International University, Uganda, presented a study on Gender and DRR in Uganda. Noting that gender equality can reduce vulnerabilities to disaster, he said women and children are 14 times more likely to die from disasters than men and comprise 75% of those displaced by disasters. Highlighting key findings from the study he noted that: women’s reproductive and productive roles expose them to landslides and floods; women are less informed and less trained on disaster management but have more knowledge of traditional methods like early warning signs; men enjoy patriarchal privileges which allow them to migrate easily while women often need to seek permission and their movements are monitored; and women are less involved in prevention activities.

Amjad Saleem, Red Cross, observed that disasters are fundamentally unfair because people on the margins of society are the most impacted by disasters. He highlighted current work examining the role of law and policy on gender equality and protection from sexual and gender-based violence, pointing to the 2015 report Unseen, Unheard: Gender based violence in Disasters, which concluded that legal frameworks are fragile and under resourced with knowledge gaps on gender and violence. 

Other issues raised included: internally displaced peoples in Africa; integrating refugees into the local population; strengthening the capacity of female leaders; and the relationship between climate change and conflict.

Working Session Six: Partnership for DRR: Moderator Quamrul Chowdhury, Lead Climate Negotiator, Least Developed Countries, invited reflections on how partnerships can increase resilience to disasters.

Ailsa Holloway, Director, Periperi U, introduced the work of Periperi that works across 12 universities in Africa, stressing that meaningful partnerships are a way to bring together individuals and institutions with the aim to aspire to something bigger, strengthening human capacity.

Chadi Abdallah addressed the role of scientific evidence-based assessments to strengthen intergovernmental processes around DRR, emphasizing the necessary partnerships between policy makers with science and technology. He acknowledged the opportunity for science and technology to capture local knowledge and the need to enhance partnership between science and civil society.

Reda Shmait reiterated that enhancing participatory self-led meaningful engagement is key to successful partnerships, adding that all partners must be represented at all levels. She highlighted how young people are already playing a critical role in DRR, calling for continued capacity building and institutionalizing the participation in all decision making.

Ibrahim Adam El Dukheri, Director-General, Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, described experience building resilience for targeted communities, identifying engagement on a base level, with “change agents” such as farmers and herders, as well as in the upper levels of institutional and organizational arrangements.

Dominique Kuitsouc, Economic Community of Central African States noted that the inclusive manner of developing the ECCAS regional strategy has resulted in fewer difficulties on implementation.

During discussion, participants posed questions on inter alia: identifying drivers for partnership; increasing engagement with traditional and local knowledge; and moving beyond rhetoric to specify how to build effective partnerships.

Special Session: DRR in a Fragile and Conflict Context: Hosam El-Sokkari, Media & Communication Consultant, moderated the session which addressed the complexities of DRR in conflict contexts in the Arab and African region. Chairing the session, Hamza Said Hamza, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Somalia, made the distinction between natural and human-made hazards that increase vulnerability to disaster, both requiring a creative approach regionally along with international intervention, such as reduction of GHGs and technology transfer.

Katie Peters addressed the global trend of increased vulnerability to disaster in fragile states, calling for the prioritization of DRR in conflict situations. She noted that disasters are not natural, nor are conflicts neutral, underscoring that vulnerabilities to disaster and conflict are mutually reinforcing.

Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO, reported that the number of people suffering from hunger is steadily increasing with the two main drivers being conflict and disaster. He raised water scarcity as a significant challenge, explaining that the availability of fresh water has decreased by two-thirds over the last 50 years.

Nina Stuurman explored the relationship of disaster and conflict with displacement, recognizing the challenge of attracting and maintaining investments. She called for more evidence-based data and analysis on the relationship, along with documentation of good practices and lessons learned, as useful tools for increasing donor investments, development and humanitarian aid. She urged for DRR activities to be mainstreamed into emergency responses, highlighting the need to coordinate partnerships on all levels.

Banak Dei Wal, Director General of Disaster Management, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, South Sudan, expressed disappointment that conflict is not reflected in the Sendai Framework and discussed challenges around adhering to good governance, maintaining the of support citizens, and addressing development priorities during conflict situations.

During the discussions that followed, participants explored how to bring in the voices of refugees and displaced peoples to the Platform; specific commitments that could be made to advance progress; and examples of empowered local leadership creating viable solutions.

Special Session: Towards Resilient Infrastructure in the Arab Region: Introducing the session, Sujit Mohantry, UNISDR, emphasized the need for resilient infrastructure able to withstand disasters, pointing to a significant deficiency in developing countries with USD3-4 trillion required for construction of critical infrastructure. He noted that disaster risk ware exacerbated due to poor planning, and that more emphasis is placed on infrastructure yet to be built than on existing infrastructure, mentioning the need to consider partially damaged, degraded or aged infrastructure. Mohantry also highlighted the massive wave of reconstruction in post-conflict Arab countries, like Iraq, which require USD100 billion for reconstruction. 

Slah Zouari, Director, Bridges and Roads, Equipment Ministry, Tunisia, discussed crisis management in Tunisia following the floods in Nabeul Province, in September 2018. He explained that the recent incident surpassed the 1969 flooding in northern Tunisia in terms of damage to infrastructure, and that plans were underway to update plans and programmes. Providing examples of other natural disasters in Tunisia, he recommended: a total review of laws governing urban development; strengthening coordination among stakeholders; ensuring an early warning immediate response; effective urban planning to avoid construction in flood prone areas; and the need for a prevention and risk management plan.

Nuha Eltinay emphasized the need to measure losses to manage critical infrastructure and build resilience, highlighting target (d) of the Sendai Framework to substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic service. She added the need for a consistent and comparable standard for measuring losses and called for looking beyond damage to critical infrastructure and understanding the magnitude of damage to every sub sector. 

 Jalah Al Daddeek, National University, Palestine, highlighted measures to reduce vulnerability of key infrastructure in Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, noting challenges due to the ongoing occupation and the increasing city population.

Closing the session, Mark Harvey advocated a systematic approach to operationalize work, entailing placing communities and their priorities at the center and looking at managing systems and infrastructure during times of stress.

Side event: Linking DRR, Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Development through the Human Security Approach: Kirsi Madi chaired the lunch event and Riadh Mouakhar lauded the integrated human security approach that accounts for risks and hazards, especially for the most vulnerable populations. He noted the collaboration with the UN Human Security Unit to implement a joint programme in Tunisia and Mauritania.

Mehrnaz Mostafavi, Chief, UN Human Security Unit, underscored how increased frequency of disasters impacts vulnerable populations such as loss of lives, destruction of foundations for prosperity, dislocation, and competition over scarce resources. She linked the human security approach to implementation of the Sendai Framework, encouraging assessments of vulnerable populations in a disaggregated manner to better understand trends and levels of risk in communities and regions. Citing an example from Kenya, she described how successful sustainable resource management led to alternative livelihoods; development of EWSs and improved food, health and environmental security.

Fadi Hamdan matched drivers of disaster with violent extremism, including poverty, urbanization, environmental degradation and weak governance, citing examples throughout history of how disaster has implicated conflict. He stressed that these linkages require the human security approach lens and the Sendai Framework; namely a focus on assessments, multi-stakeholder approaches and inclusive prevention.

Sheikh Saleh Habimana reflected on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, an event, which he said was likely worsened by stresses from disasters. He shared revitalized political commitments to work with the Sendai Framework to strengthen governance and increase investment in DRR through national policies and a DRM plan. He highlighted the need to build trust between people and the military to work towards a common goal, achieved through monthly meetings to discuss hazards and DRR.

Nada el Aguizy explained how circumstances in the Arab regions, such as water scarcity and conflict, cannot be addressed by any one government on its own. She focused on the value of building partnerships and increasing multi-stakeholder engagement and discussed efforts to address challenges, such as sustainable finance, through private sector investments.

Nicholas Novelli, Yale University, US, presented results from a demonstration of a home built on the principles of a healthy living ecosystem. He illustrated how the design of self-sufficient renewable energy, water filtration systems and vertical gardening for food security could be applied to different regions.

Commemoration of the World Tsunami Awareness Day: Moderator Hosam El-Sokkari invited panelists to reflect on the value of commemorating a day to tsunami awareness. Kirsi Madi responded that throughout the year, efforts are made to advocate for raising awareness around tsunamis which are rare, but cause tremendous devastation. She explained that when people do not respond to warning signs, citing the recent earthquake in Indonesia, loss of life is higher.

Denis Chang Seng, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO, introduced four global EWSs that provide services to member countries free of charge. He described the components as: assessment; detection and monitoring; communication; and response. He explained that each member state that receives the warning must determine whether to issue alerts to the general population.

Veronique Baker provided a perspective from Seychelles islands, reliant on tourism, explaining that hotels are incentivized to be prepared as it reflects positively on their business. She shared exercises used to prepare various sectors, insuring community engagement and capacity for community to use information to inform action.

Ahmed Aly Badawy underscored the value of community responses to warning signals, reflecting that losses from past tsunamis were often problems due in part to human response rather than technical failures. He stressed that the value of preparedness, saying that for every dollar spent on preparedness, it is possible to save USD7-10 dollars of expected losses.

Gina Bonne, Indian Ocean Commission, highlighted the importance of regional cooperation to leverage funding and insure sustainable development for communities reliant on the blue economy. She added that population increases should be factored into modeling exercises and land-planning development.

Omran Kamzari, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Oman, recounted how the 2007 cyclones in his country led to improved preparedness. By working with international partners to build back roads and bridges, he reported increased resilience to disaster with zero losses during the 2018 cyclones.

Participants engaged panelists in discussions on both the social and technical aspects of early warning systems; value of community participation for effective responses from EWS; and need for increased data exchange.

International Day for Disaster Reduction and Media Award: Hosam El-Sokkari moderated a panel discussion on International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). Mami Mizutori noted how IDDR has helped to bring about global recognition and awareness to the impacts and severity of disasters.

Chokri Ben Hassen, Secretary of State for Local Affairs and Environment, Tunisia, recounted the economic loss from recent floods in Nabeul totaling 50 million Tunisian Dinar and affecting more than 542 people as well as the additional pressure of desertification impacting 75% of Tunisia.

Mami Mizutori called for better data frameworks to understand loss, citing a recently published report with Centre of Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster, revealing that economic loss is only known for 47% of reported disasters. She lauded the inaugural media awards as a positive way for acknowledging the power of media to raise awareness around disasters, appealing to journalists to cover stories of recovery as a result of preparedness.

David Owino, DRR Network of Africa Journalists, shared efforts to support journalists reporting on DRR, saying it is a time to unite and collaborate. Ruth Kadide Keah, Radio Rahma, Mombasa, Kenya, was awarded first prize for her radio story on Skeleton River, Kenya.

Tunis Declaration:

Arab States: On Friday, after statements from Major Groups and stakeholders, Mohammed Denjeddou, Drafting Group Chair, Ministry of Environment and Local Affairs, Tunisia, invited delegates to comment on the draft declaration. Language revisions were proposed on the inclusion of people with disabilities, establishing education and communication programmes, and only referring to “natural disaster risks” rather than all types of risks. Participants also proposed reference to “extreme climate phenomena,” “biological hazards” and some supported deleting language on “manmade disasters.” The draft was then forwarded to the Arab Ministerial Plenary for consideration. 

On Saturday during the Ministerial Plenary, Chokri Ben Hassen introduced the revised draft declaration and Riadh Mouakhar invited comments from participants. A delegate proposed adding language “commending Iraqi efforts in fighting terrorism,” which was opposed. Mami Mizutori explained that while the Sendai Framework includes biological, environmental, technological hazards; epidemics and pandemics, member states agreed that terrorism is should not be included. The High-level meeting then adopted the Tunis Declaration. 

Final Declaration: In the Fourth Arab Conference on DDR Tunis Declaration on DDR, Ministers and Heads of Arab Delegation and representatives of regional and international governmental and non-governmental organizations participating in the Africa-Arab Platform on DRR in Tunis, Tunisia, emphasize the objectives, priorities and targets of the Sendai Framework and the Arab Strategy for DRR. Emphasizing the strengthening of capacity of local communities to address disaster risks, adapt to climate change and reduce negative impacts on the most vulnerable groups, including women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, children, youth, displaced persons and victims of forced migration, the Ministers and Heads of Arab delegations take into account environmental, economic and social damage resulting from occupation, especially in the Palestinian situation.

Ministers and Heads of Arab Delegations call on governments, partners and stakeholders to inter alia:

  • implement sustainable development policies based on DRR, inclusive at all levels;
  • take urgent and effective action on the development and implementation of national and local policies and strategies for DRR to achieve target (e) of the Sendai Framework;
  • develop and update mechanisms for the collection and analysis of data and statistics related to disasters and losses;
  • develop programmes of action that enable media, education and communication on all possible risks and ensure access to data and information;
  • promote active participation of women and youth in the leadership, design and implementation of gender-sensitive DRR policies, plans and programmes through joint efforts of the public and private sectors, supported by appropriate legal frameworks and resource allocation; and
  • promote integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and DRR into policies and practices at all levels, promoting scientific research and development of energy efficiency technologies in line with global trends associated with the SDGs.

To meet these challenges, Ministers and Heads of Arab delegations will:

  • implement recommendations in the Tunis Declaration in view of the upcoming Arab regional Forum in 2020;
  • coordinate and collaborate with all stakeholders to implement the Arab Strategy for DRR to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR and provide updates through the Arab Coordination Mechanism and other regional forums; and

invite voluntary work statements and reports on progress through the Regional Office for Arab States for DRR.

Africa: On Friday, Habib Ben Moussa, Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment, Tunisia, invited Major Groups and stakeholder statements on the draft declaration. The draft declaration was approved without amendments and submitted to the Africa Ministerial Plenary for final consideration.

On Saturday, Riadh Mouakhar opened the African Ministerial Plenary, inviting delegates to elect the new Bureau and adopt the Tunis declaration. Mami Mizutori, acknowledging that Africa was the first region to adopt a plan of implementation, illustrated how natural hazards create a ripple effect, impacting daily life by affecting access to water and energy which lead to crop failure, stimulating a spike in food shortage and contributing to global hunger. She expressed hope that the Tunis declaration will contribute to accelerating implementation and increase use of the Sendai Monitor.

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, reported that eight Africans die from disasters each day, and two disasters take place on the continent each week, underscoring the importance of DRR to strengthen resilience, infrastructure and improve planning and preparedness. Acknowledging that 18 countries have put national strategies in place to implement the Sendai Framework, she called on other member states to follow, as well as mobilize domestic resources for DRR.

Nazir Soobratty, Ministry of National Solidarity, Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritius, warned that the Tunis Declaration will not be useful if it is not translated into action and policies with dedicated resources. Participants then approved the nominations for the new Bureau, chaired by Tunisia and including Mauritius; Niger; Central African Republic; and Ethiopia.

Habib Ben Moussa introduced the draft Tunis declaration adopted by the working group. Several participants raised concern over references to “indigenous peoples,” calling the terminology “pejorative” and insulting, expressing concern that the use would lead to segregation. Proposals included replacing the term with “vulnerable groups” or leaving it out completely. Many participants disagreed, preferring to maintain “indigenous peoples” clarifying that this term was a reference to their traditional knowledge that is valuable, especially in EWSs. Others commented that the language is consistent the Sendai Framework which had already been negotiated and adopted by all delegates. A proposal to use the term “local communities” was put to vote, and accepted by the majority. Another issue of contention was over proposed new mechanisms in the absence of designated financial resources, with some preferring that activities be channeled through existing institutions. Delegates then adopted the Tunis Declaration.

Final Declaration: In the Tunis Declaration on Accelerating the Implementation of the Sendai Framework and the African Regional Strategy for DRR, Ministers and Heads of Delegation responsible for DRR in Africa who met for the Africa-Arab Platform on DRR in Tunis, Tunisia, which comprised the Seventh Session of the Africa Regional Platform and the Sixth High-level Meeting on DRR, appreciate the role of CSOs, academia, private sector, local communities and other stakeholders, and the role of media, in supporting and implementing the Sendai Framework, as well as regional, sub-regional, national and local DRR programmes and plans.

Ministers and Heads of Delegation also inter alia:

  • adopt the Monitoring and Reporting Framework for the Programme of Action for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 in Africa;
  • call upon the African Union Commission to prepare a Biennial Report on DRR in Africa;
  • urge African states and local authorities to include DRR and resilience approaches into relevant national legal frameworks not only in disaster management acts, but also in sectoral legislations;
  • stress the need for adequate annual national budgetary allocation to finance DRR programmes to effectively implement the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR and the Sendai Framework;
  • urge UNISDR, in collaboration with African Union Commission and development partners, to provide DRR tools, guiding documents and technical support for the development, implementation, monitoring and review of DRR-informed local, national, and regional DRR strategies, programmes and plans of action;
  • commit to promote and support integration of climate change, DRR and sustainable development strategies, policies, programmes and plans of action at all level to ensure disaster risk informed, inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in Africa;
  • urge African states, Regional Economic Communities and the African Union Commission, development partners, CSOs and other stakeholders to develop innovative ways to ensure that DRR is implemented in fragile and conflict affected contexts; and
  • mandate the Africa Working Group on DRR to coordinate the development of the Africa Position to be presented at the 2019 Global Platform for DRR.

Closing

 On Saturday afternoon during the closing session, Riadh Mouakhar presented the joint Communique of the Chair on Africa-Arab Cooperation on DRR. 

The Joint Communique on Strengthening Africa-Arab Collaboration on DRR, acknowledges the common hazards and similar drivers faced by the two regions and commit to collaborate to:

  • accelerate efforts to ensure all African and Arab states systematically collect and account for disaster losses by 2020 using the Sendai Framework Monitor;
  • seize the opportunity of post-conflict reconstruction to build back better by investing in resilient and accessible infrastructure;
  • enable meaningful participation and uphold the human rights of women and girls, children and youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, displaced and migrant populations, and those in vulnerable situations in DRR;
  • translate global frameworks on climate change, sustainable development and the Sendai Framework into coherent national and local policy and practice across all sectors to achieve resilience;
  • intensify South-South collaboration through the exchange of good practices and technology transfer between the African and Arab regions, building upon existing Afro-Arab partnerships;
  • invite delegations and stakeholders to the 6th session of the Global Platform on DRR in 2019 to present the outcome of the Africa-Arab Platform on DRR; and
  • invite African and Arab delegations attending the Fifth Africa-Arab Summit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019 to consider the concrete recommendations of the Africa-Arab Platform on DRR to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in both regions.

Closing remarks: Mami Mizutori noted that the meeting had shone a light on some of the greatest challenges facing DRR and the need to focus on “building back better” and catalyze action for gender parity. She emphasized that DRM would never reach its full potential without adopting a people-centered approach.

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko expressed: gratitude to the Ministers for charting a vision; intention to work with African Union partners to implement the Tunis Declaration; and the need for effective partnership and collaboration.

Abdellatif Abid, Assistant Secretary General of LAS, highlighted ties between Arab states and the African Union, noting that the Platform has provided governments and stakeholders an opportunity to take stock of progress towards implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Romain Darbellay, Embassy of Switzerland, Tunisia, commended the rich variety of stakeholders working together on implementing the Sendai Framework as well as its coherence with other globally agreed frameworks and agendas, welcoming participants to the Global Platform on DRR in 2019.

Riad Mouakhar closed the meeting at 5:56 pm, expressing hope that all stakeholders would do their part to support implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Upcoming Meetings

International Day for Disaster Reduction: The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started in 1989, following a call by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for a day to promote a global culture of risk awareness and disaster reduction. Held on 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face. The 2018 edition of the Day will focus on Target C of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) on reducing disaster economic losses in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030. dates: 13 October 2018  location: worldwide www: https://www.unisdr.org/we/campaign/iddr

Cities Conference II: Towards Safe, Affordable and Sustainable Urban Mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean: The annual Cities Conference provides a strategic platform for dialogue which supports the implementation and monitoring of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), and the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, particularly SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), in Latin America and the Caribbean, while also contributing to fulfillment of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), among others global agendas. The Cities Conference II is organized by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Assembly of Ministers and High Authorities on Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (MINURVI), with the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) and others. dates: 16-19 October 2018 location: Santiago, Chile www: https://ciudades.cepal.org/2018/en

Understanding Risk Finance Pacific Forum: The Understanding Risk Finance Pacific (URf Pacific) forum, co-organized by the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program (DRFIP) and the Government of Vanuatu, will provide a platform to explore the challenges and opportunities of managing disaster risk in Pacific island countries and small island States. URf Pacific will bring together policymakers, financial risk managers and development partners to strengthen regional collaboration on climate and disaster risk finance. Interactive sessions will showcase innovative approaches in government action, community engagement and private sector solutions. The forum will focus on two core themes: 1) understanding risk: improving the way risk information is gathered, analyzed and communicated to better manage disaster risk; and 2) building financial resilience: planning ahead to better manage the financial and humanitarian impacts of disasters. dates: 16-19 October 2018 location: Port Vila, Shefa, Vanuatu www: https://financialprotectionforum.org/urfp-vanuatu-2018

Seventh Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development: The seventh Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD), hosted by Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, will focus on key shelter and settlement challenges in the region, including urban and rural development, urban regeneration and slum upgrading, provision of basic services, housing and settlement finance, and disaster risk mitigation and management. The biennial conference seeks to promote sustainable development of human settlements in the Asia Pacific region. dates: 22-24 October 2018 location: Tehran, Iran www: https://unhabitat.org/events/seventh-asia-pacific-ministerial-conference-on-housing-and-urban-development/

Disaster Risk Reduction, Response and Sustainable Reconstruction: Capacity Building for Equitable Planning and Development: This conference will provide a forum for examining the efficacy of national strategies for capacity-building measures related to disaster risk reduction (DRR), with a focus on cross- and multi-disciplinary training efforts, education and professional development. While capacity building is critical to disaster preparedness, response and sustainable post-disaster reconstruction programmes, no agreed definition of the term currently exists. Thus, this conference will explore what the term “capacity building” means. dates: 8 November 2018 location: Boston, MA, US contact: University of Massachusetts Boston   phone: 617-287-7112  e-mail: crscad@umb.edu  www: https://www.umb.edu/crscad/events/equitable_development   

Barcelona Resilience Week: Barcelona Resilience Week aims to connect cities, while providing the opportunity to learn about ground breaking resilience topics. The Week will offer an opportunity to present, share and exchange experiences and best practices, and to gain practical knowledge. dates: 11-16 November 2018 location: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain contact:UN-Habitat’s Urban Resilience Programme e-mail: info@cityresilience.org  www: http://urbanresiliencehub.org/action

2018 European Forum on DRR: Representatives of the European countries, stakeholder groups and partners will gather for the European Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) to build on the outcomes of the 2017 EFDRR held in Istanbul, Turkey, 2017 Global Platform for DRR held in Cancun, Mexico, and aim to address key issues that can accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in coherence with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The meeting will provide a forum to exchange information and move forward on local level resilience, economic risks and reaching the Sendai Framework 2020 priority targets. dates: 21-23 November 2018 location: Rome, Lazio, Italy www: https://www.unisdr.org/conference/2018/efdrr

Global Platform for DRR 2019: The 2019 meeting of the biennial Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) will discuss the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report on DRR. dates: 13-17 May 2019 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: UNISDR www: https://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/global-platform

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2019: The seventh UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2019) will take place under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), on dates to be decided. HLPF 2019 will address the theme, ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’. It will conduct an in-depth review of SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), in addition to SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) which is reviewed each year. Among other things, HLPF 2019 will consider the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which is issued every four years. dates: 8-19 July 2019 [tentative] venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US contact: DESA www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

For additional upcoming events, see http://sdg.iisd.org

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