20 May 2013
GENEVA, 20 May (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) — There would be no disaster resilience without effective decentralization, without empowering communities and without addressing social inequalities and poverty alleviation, local government representatives told a meeting there today.
The fourth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction heard from several stakeholder groups who met to explore common ground for a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Chair of the meeting, said that following the preliminary consultations held throughout the year, the time had come to provide guidance and input into the design and development of the new framework, known as HFA2, which is part of broader international development goals. The stakeholder groups presented their main findings as their contribution to the process. Parliamentarians identified scientific and technological data as key in preparing for the future framework.
Local governments stated that there would be no disaster resilience without effective decentralization; that communities should be empowered to reduce risk; and that social inequalities and poverty alleviation should be taken into account. In their view, authorities should be better prepared to face future disasters and should receive the appropriate financial and technological support.
National platforms for disaster risk reduction stressed the need to increase the number of such organizations, which were a good governance tool for addressing multi-sectoral challenges, ensuring commitment and building networks. They should be organized as part of a flexible framework, but with a clearly established role and mandate. Climate change issues should be better mainstreamed, and the platforms should coordinate at all levels and promote women’s participation and leadership. It was crucial to engage many shareholders in partnerships, but especially the private sector.
Communities said they had been working towards community resilience long before it became a buzzword, and working also to change the way the development work was done. They recommended creating more mechanisms to encourage commitment, such as the Resilient Cities Campaigns; promoting the inclusion of women and indigenous understanding; setting specific indicators for communities; and putting more efforts into resilience than into emergency response.
Private-sector representatives said that they had much to learn, but that the focus had to be on prevention and on addressing the root causes of disasters so as to avoid recurrent problems. The spotlight should also be placed on the local level. Expanding urbanization required resilient and responsible investment. Empowerment was another focus, even for consumers, and resilience was a system, not just a series of components. The whole system had to work with both its hard and soft components, they concluded.
Intergovernmental organizations said that Heads of State should be made more aware of the investment potential of disaster risk reduction and of its role in providing stability. Regional platforms should be owned by Governments, and their actions demand-driven. Each framework should have robust indicators, accountability mechanisms and review systems.
The Science and Technology Advisory Group reached three conclusions: Science and technology were useful and useable in networks and platforms, but research should be more demand-driven if it was to contribute to implementation; a multi-disciplinary approach was essential; and access to databases should be facilitated.
Non-governmental organizations said that policies should reinforce community resilience, which should be at the heart of the new framework. HYA2 should better reflect the hybrid nature of disasters, adopting a more integrated approach to address the underlying causes, including at the local level.
Ms. Wahlström noted that most of the stakeholder groups had reached similar conclusions, focusing on access to information, risk assessment, territorial planning, legal bottlenecks to implementation, the broad spectrum of interventions needed for disaster risk reduction, and the need for harmonization and guidance among member States.
For use of the information media; not an official record