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First Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
5-7 June 2007 | Geneva, Switzerland

IISD's Summary

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Highlights for Thursday, 7 June 2007

On Thursday, 7 June 2007, the first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP/DRR) convened for its final day. Participants met in plenary throughout the day. In the morning, Chair John Holmes introduced a discussion on assessment of progress in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and participants heard presentations on the outcomes of Wednesday’s workshops. Presentations on implementation were made by representatives from Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa, on regional progress in, and challenges to, implementing the HFA. Andrew Maskrey, UNDP, presented the findings of the “Disaster Risk Reduction: 2007 Global Review” and explained that the report focused on mortality and economic risks in earthquakes, climate and geographically extensive disasters.

Session workshop chairs reported to plenary on disaster risk reduction (DRR) as a national priority in relation to: national coordination mechanisms; policy and legislation; mainstreaming; and moving from national frameworks to local action. Participants also considered progress on implementing HFA in thematic areas and heard presentations on outcomes from session workshops on: ecosystems and environmental management for risk reduction; education for DRR; health and DRR; and incorporating DRR into preparedness.

In the afternoon, participants considered ways to advance the implementation of the HFA through the ISDR system during 2008-9 and heard a presentation by James Lee Witt on “Project Impact,” a US public-private partnership project to increase household-level disaster preparedness. Witt explained that mitigation must be part of national dialogue and become community culture. He said building disaster-resilient communities requires four activities: public-private partnerships; risk assessment; prioritization and mitigation; and celebration of successes. Witt detailed the involvement of the private sector in the US, specifically their role in raising public awareness about the need for preparedness and empowering communities to undertake activities themselves.

In the late afternoon, Chair Holmes presented his draft Chair’s Summary that surveyed GP/DRR’s suggestions on country efforts, programme foci and ISDR system development. In the ensuing discussion participants made suggestions for alterations and additions to the text, including enhancing the sense of urgency. Chair Holmes said he would revise the document to reflect the discussion and post the revised text on the ISDR website for further comment, before finalizing it.

In the closing session, Chair Holmes explained he would commission a high-level study to advance the economic case for disaster reduction to be completed before 2009. He thanked participants, said the challenges were daunting, but that “we know what we need to do to make progress” and closed the meeting at 4.59pm.

Ciro Ugarte, Pan American Health Organization, reported on the workshop on health and DRR.
Carlos Villacis, UNDP, highlighted the need for indicators for disaster risk to evaluate the impacts of risk reduction activities.
Maryam Golnaraghi, WMO, reported on the status of early warning systems.
Beulah Naidoo, South Africa recommended that all suggestions from the Chair's Summary discussion be incorporated into the draft report.
Yvette Stevens, ISDR, highlighted the need to marshall resources together and identify partnerships and networks at multiple levels.
Kathleen Cravero, UNDP, discussed the draft Joint Planning Framework and said it should be completed by late 2007.
L-R: John Harding, ISDR; Glenn Mittermann, ISDR; and Kathleen Cravero, Vice-Chair
Bojang Foday, African Union, suggested Africa’s high exposure to hazards be emphasized in the Chairman’s Summary.
Cristelle Pratt, SOPAC, presented the report on Asia and the Pacific, which she said was the world’s most disaster prone area.
Loy Rego, ADPC said the Chair’s Summary should convey a greater sense of urgency and reflect the need to accelerate the implementation of HFA.
Fawzi Mohammed (center), Egypt, presented the report for Middle East and North Africa, underscored that climate change remains a key regional concern.
Glenn Mittermann (left), ISDR; Salvano Briceno (center), ISDR; and Chair John Holmes (right), during afternoon plenary.
Chair John Holmes and ISDR staff during the closing session
Your IISD team. L-R: Richard de Ferranti, Australia; Melanie Ashton, Australia; and James Van Alstine, United States of America
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