The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) concluded on Saturday, 13 October in Tunis, Tunisia, with the adoption of two declarations: the Tunis Declaration on DDR by the Fourth Arab Conference on DDR; and the Tunis Declaration on Accelerating the Implementation of the Sendai Framework and the African Regional Strategy for DDR by the Sixth High-level Meeting.
The Africa-Arab Platform celebrated the International Day for Disaster Reduction with an inaugural media award in recognition of reporting on the continent, and the role of the media in raising awareness around disasters, and forming a stronger network for resilience.
During the closing session, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, UNISDR, 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 catalyzing action for gender parity. She emphasized that disaster risk management (DRM) would never reach its full potential without adopting a people-centered approach. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, expressed: gratitude to the Ministers for charting a vision; intention to work with AU partners to implement the Tunis Declaration; and the need for effective partnership and collaboration.
Abdellatif Abid, Assistant Secretary General of League of Arab States, 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. Riad Mouakhar, Minister of Local Affairs and Environment, Tunisia, closed the meeting at 5:56 pm, expressing hope that all stakeholders would do their part to support implementation of the Sendai Framework.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily coverage and a summary report from the Africa-Arab Platform on DRR.
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The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) continued on Friday, 12 October in Tunis, Tunisia. IISD/RS covered a selection of sessions on: gender inclusive DRR; partnership for DRR; and DDR in a fragile and conflict context. The session on gender inclusive DRR underscored: the gender dimensions of climate change and how gender focused research can highlight the magnitude of risks faced by men and women; boys and girls; youth; people with disabilities; and other disadvantaged groups. During the session on partnership for DRR, participants considered the role of scientific evidence-based assessments for strengthening intergovernmental processes around DRR and how enhancing participatory, self-led meaningful engagement is key to successful partnerships. A special session on DRR in a fragile and conflict context addressed the global trend of increased vulnerability to disaster and how empowering women has led to environmental and social gains, reinforcing the need to empower local leadership in the absence of state leadership.
In the afternoon, an Africa-Arab High-Level Session focused on enhancing coherence among DRR, climate change and SDGs for inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in Africa and Arab regions. Participants compared progress on integrating the Sendai Framework with the post-2015 processes such as the SDGs, and Paris Agreement within the Africa and Arab States, and identified common areas of interest for the two regions for future collaboration.
Arab States and Africa plenary sessions provided participants an opportunity to reflect and comment on the draft Tunis declaration for the sixth high-level meeting on DRR. In the evening, participants attended a reception hosted by the Government of Tunisia.
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The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) officially opened on Thursday, 11 October in Tunis, Tunisia.
In welcoming remarks, Kirsi Madi, Director, UNISDR, 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 SDGs. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, welcomed the cooperation between African and Arab States in this first joint event on DRR, and highlighted the need for States to invest in DRR as a matter of survival. Abdellatif Obaid, Vice Secretary General, League of Arab States said efforts were underway to establish an Arab-Africa fund for DRR. Riadh Mouakhar, Minister of Local Affairs and Environment, Tunisia, described the DRR challenges faced by Tunisia and responses, including work on a national DRR strategy through an inclusive process.
IISD/RS covered some of the working sessions that took place during the day, including:
In addition, a side event on linking DRR, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development through the human security approach; and an event to commemorate World Tsunami Awareness Day were also covered.
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Preparations for the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) continued on Wednesday, 10 October, in Tunis, Tunisia. IISD/RS covered a selection of pre-conference events, on: making cities sustainable and resilient; a regional assessment report for DRR for the Arab States; a regional orientation and consultation for Africa and Arab States on a strategic approach to capacity development for the implementation of the Sendai Framework; an intergenerational dialogue on underlying disaster risk drivers; and multi-sectoral governance in the implementation of the Sendai Framework at the local level.
The event on making cities sustainable and resilient discussed: linking national DRR strategies to city implementation; using the UNISDR Disaster Resilience Scorecard across the Arab region; and increasing investments in community engagement and communication.
Efforts to develop a regional assessment report for DRR for the Arab Region were supported by participants in an event organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in the morning, who expressed that such a report would help to fill a void for DRR policy makers in the region, where relevant information for decision-making is still lacking.
A global project on a strategic approach to capacity development for risk-informed sustainable development by 2030 was discussed in the afternoon. The project described the four building blocks for effective capacity development as being: demand-driven and needs based; government owned and led; coherent within and between all levels of government; and practicable, replicable and localized.
An intergenerational dialogue on underlying disaster risk drivers in the afternoon highlighted the importance of involving youth in every stage of disaster risk management, and the complex links between migration and disaster risk.
The session on multi-sectoral governance in the implementation of the Sendai Framework at the local level discussed examples from projects in Africa, while identifying challenges and opportunities in promoting DRR efforts at the local level.
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Preparations for the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) started on Tuesday, 9 October, at the Lacio Hotel, Tunis, Tunisia, with a series of pre-conference events. IISD/RS covered a selection of these events, on: innovative solutions for dynamic disaster risk financing and resilience; coastal resilience and spatial planning; DRR and violent conflict; conflict and resilience; and linking DRR, climate change, and development in the Horn of Africa.
The event on innovative solutions for dynamic disaster risk financing and resilience focused on African Risk Capacity, an initiative to pool risk and resources and provide immediate funding to African governments to respond to natural disasters.
Experiences from African and Arab countries were shared in the session on spatial planning and coastal resilience, where questions were raised on inter alia: aligning global and national strategies; and leveraging political will to implement strategies. Participants reflected on whether DRR is a neglected area of work in a session on DRR and violent conflict, highlighting the need for DRR preparedness to focus on peace building. Conflict and resilience were discussed again in an afternoon session, where comparisons were made on how “resilience” appears across global frameworks, in addition to highlighting the need for: coordination among the climate change, disaster risk and biodiversity agendas; raising the profile of community-based resilience approaches; and opportunities to address displaced communities.
A session on linking DRR, climate change, and development discussed opportunities, challenges, and gaps in policy frameworks at the regional, national, and local levels in countries in the Horn of Africa.
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