The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GP2022) began with preparatory events on Monday, ahead of the forthcoming high-level meeting taking place from 25-27 May in Bali, Indonesia. The preparatory days were structured along the third Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference (MHEWC-III), the second Stakeholder Forum, and the fifth World Reconstruction Conference (WRC-5). GP2022 is organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and hosted by the Government of Indonesia.
Third Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference
MHEWC-III is taking stock and working towards scaling actions for early warning under Target G of the Sendai Framework for DRR (substantially increase the availability of and access to multi‑hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments by 2030). Participants were energized to help “spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years,” as announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 23 March 2022. A broad range of initiatives and ideas were presented to help achieve the accelerated Target, all with one central theme: the need for a people-centred approach! Speakers and participants agreed that warnings must be accessible, understandable, usable, and relevant for all segments of the population including the most vulnerable. The stocktake revealed member states are making progress across the six indicators under Target G, but considerable work remains to be done in introducing multi-hazard early warning systems, improving them, and expanding them to protect everybody exposed to disaster risk.
Second Stakeholder Forum
One of the main messages of the first day of the second Stakeholder Forum was that developing resilience requires a holistic, whole-of-society approach, and collective implementation. This message was conveyed by, among others, Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Fiji, who noted that “in this age of systemic risk, we are not safe until we are all safe.” During the opening session, panelists stressed the need for applied knowledge, statistical data, and indicators, including community knowledge, to be better prepared for future challenges as well as participatory approaches to identify needs and vulnerabilities. They further identified UNDRR’s Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (SEM) as “the main vehicle to engage with each other and break down existing silos in the UN system.” They also discussed integrated risk management as a systemic approach to identify, evaluate, and address risk.
Two plenary sessions focused on lessons learned regarding building resilience over the past three years, and plans and opportunities for the future of the SEM. Participants addressed, among others, digitalization induced by the pandemic, housing as a front line of defense against COVID-19, SEM’s evolution and future steps, and the Sendai Framework Voluntary Commitment (SFVC) initiative. They further discussed: SEM’s background, mission, and structure; diverging vulnerabilities due to aging and differing development levels; the role of farmers; interlinkages between DRR and climate change adaptation; and gender issues.
The Fifth World Reconstruction Conference
The first day of WRC-5 addressed three sub-themes on: social and economic effects and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on “hard-won” development gains; social, infrastructure, and economic recovery from disasters as an opportunity to reset the development pathway towards a greener and resilient future; and rethinking recovery governance models.
The conference kicked off with an opening session, which set the scene on the need to translate lessons learnt from addressing the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 into comprehensive, meaningful, and resilience-building disaster recovery policies. Speakers also urged WRC-5 to guide the development of pathways for a greener, more resilient and equitable recovery.
Two plenary sessions followed. The session on Social Infrastructural and Economic Recovery from Disasters discussed the complexities experienced in recovery opportunities and challenges with the advent of the pandemic, modalities for more resilient infrastructure recovery, and developing a roadmap for disaster recovery.
The session on Addressing the Social and Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on “Hard-won” Development Gains discussed approaches to address the impacts of the pandemic on society, including on their efficacy and lessons for strengthening resilience and reducing the impacts. Issues addressed included the concept of human security, regional differences in impacts of COVID-19, and responses to recovery.
Multiple parallel sessions also convened, shedding additional light on specific aspects of DRR, including:
- critical infrastructure recovery;
- mechanisms for strengthening social protection and local recovery;
- recovery challenges in the urban environment;
- recovery needs of women, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups;
- impact-based forecasts and anticipatory action;
- the Common Alerting Protocol; and
- constituency sessions for major stakeholder groups.
In the evening, a mingle event allowed for the exchange of ideas and networking among participants. A reception and poster session under MHEWC-3 offered further opportunities to deliberate on early warning systems.