Disaster Risk Reduction on the Global Agenda
By admin May 26, 2017

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The 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (the Global Forum) was held between May 22 and 26 in Cancun, Mexico. Some 6,000 Heads of State, policy makers, disaster risk managers, civil society and other participants attended the forum. It is the first time that an important international forum was dedicated to the disaster risk reduction agenda outside Geneva.

“Human and economic losses from disasters cannot continue at current levels if we are going to progress with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed at the opening.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), according to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through systematic efforts to analyze and reduce the causal factors of disasters. Disasters can induce significant economic loss and impact the poor and vulnerable the most. By reducing exposure to hazards, developing wise risk management, and improving preparedness, DRR plays a key role in achieving sustainable development results. According to the 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, an investment of  US$ 6 billion annually in disaster risk management would result in  avoided  losses  of  US$ 360  billion over  the  next  15  years.

The January 2010 massive earthquake in Haiti, which caused a damage and economic losses of approximately US$ 7.8 billion, was an urgent reminder of the importance of better disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Two years after the earthquake, the Government of Haiti and the UN Development Program launched Haiti’s National System for Disaster Risk Reduction program, which was one of the first actions a developing country had taken to reduce the vulnerability of its people and economy to future earthquakes.

Recognizing the importance of DRR, the international community adopted the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework in 2015, which articulates four priorities for action and recognizes that the state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with the local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. The framework marks a significant shift from emphasizing disaster management to managing disaster risk and strengthening resilience.

The Global Forum is the first international summit on DRR since the Sendai Framework. As emphasized by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, the forum is vital in order to progress on key targets of the Sendai Framework including reducing mortality, reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters, reducing economic losses and reducing damage to critical infrastructure – all points that are also integral to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Currently India is the only country which has drawn a comprehensive national plan on its roadmap to fully achieve the Sendai framework by 2030, and a short term goal by 2020. The UNISDR has been driving major initiatives worldwide on disaster mitigation strategies adopted by countries and engage them to work towards building sustained efforts to improve early warning systems and disaster risk management.


Read more:

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

With focus on natural disasters, UN risk reduction forum opens in Mexico

Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

India first country to have national plan for disaster risk reduction

Haiti’s Earthquake: Prevention and Preparedness Woefully Low

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