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Second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction: summary of the discussion (part 2)

17 November 2014

Second Preparatory Committee continues discussion on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction

The Second Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction this afternoon continued with its discussion on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

During the discussion, some speakers stressed the importance of an integrated approach to disaster risk reduction, including climate change, sustainable development, security issues, youth and children, gender and biological disasters. Speakers said that with the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, disaster risk reduction had to take into account biological aspects. In addition, concerns for funding and scientific knowledge and technology transfers were raised. The need for shared responsibility, solidarity and synergies in international cooperation mechanisms were also highlighted.

Some delegations called for the provision of predictable, adequate, sustainable and coordinated international assistance to vulnerable developing countries through bilateral and multilateral channels. With regards to the themes of climate change and sustainable development, most countries were in favour of an integrated approach, however others said that each process should maintain its own autonomy and that the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction should focus on disaster risk reduction.

Representatives of major groups called for specific references to be made in the zero draft. Those issues concerned the inclusion of urban planning, diversity in the protection of historical, cultural and religious sites, the specific mention of gender equality as a standalone guiding principle, the mention of youth and children and their inclusion in disaster risk reduction decision making, as well as the mention of firefighters, police and civil protection, ambulance crew, health and social service workers and similar groups who put themselves at direct risk.

Speaking in the discussion were Colombia, Gabon, Turkey, Germany, Uruguay, Fiji, Sweden, China, Argentina, Gambia, Yemen, Iran, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Peru, Algeria, South Sudan, Malaysia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain, Cameroon, Togo, Bhutan, Madagascar, Guyana, Luxembourg, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Economic Community of West African States, African Union Commission, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Central American Centre for Natural Disaster Prevention and International Union for Conservation of Nature took the floor, as did Business and Industry Major Group, Local Authorities Major Group, Major Group for Women, Children and Youth Major Group, Workers and Trade Unions Major Group, Major Group of Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Science and Technology Major Group.

The Second Preparatory Committee began its work this morning at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Summaries of the opening statements by the Committee’s Co-Chairs and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as the first part of the discussion, are available following the link below.

The plenary of the Second Preparatory Committee will resume its work on Tuesday, 18 November at 4:30 p.m. when it will continue its discussion on considerations on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee will conclude its work at the end of the day on 18 November.

Considerations on the Post 2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Colombia said that it was essential that the new framework for action take into account pending challenges in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, in accordance with the periodic review that UNISDR had undertaken. With regards to the themes of climate change and sustainable development, Colombia’s position was that each process should maintain its own autonomy and that the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction focus on disaster risk reduction.

Gabon said Gabon had integrated the Hyogo Framework for Action within its development policies as a national priority, including with measures such as the creation of the National Platform for Prevention and Reduction of Catastrophic Risks in 2011. New risks for the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction included economic losses due to the disasters, urban risks tied to technological and demographic evolution, sanitary risks, unsafe food and water risks, movement of persons, and intercommunity conflicts.

Turkey stated that the world was at a crossroads to determine the new disaster management strategy and post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The Hyogo Framework for Action had provided critical guidance to reduce disaster risk, however its implementation highlighted gaps in addressing “underlying risk factors,” the formulation of goals and priorities for actions, and the need to update and reorder them. It was necessary to give the necessary visibility to all levels of implementation, and place emphasis on stakeholders and their role.

Germany urged that clear definitions and stringent terminology about resilience and disaster management be used in the zero draft. Strong emphasis should be directed towards interactions and interdependency in the preamble of the document, such as the linkage between successful disaster risk management and the development of humanitarian communities. Germany called for a comprehensive preparedness approach to risk management, and for a focus on the role of national platforms and the emphasized role of civil society, such as institutionalized voluntary work.

Uruguay stressed the importance of the Hyogo Framework for Action, in particular the consolidation of the national emergency system, coordination of public policies, and strong strategic leadership. Uruguay had developed a national emergency strategy which allowed for increased inter-institutional coordination and timely flow of information. It called for the promotion of shared responsibility and solidarity and cooperation mechanisms in the field of disaster risk reduction.

Fiji welcomed the work of the Informal Working Group on Targets and Indicators, adding that it would continue contributing to those discussions. Fiji convened its first ever National Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in August 2014, drawing on contributions from women, persons with disabilities, elderly persons and youth. Fiji asked about the most efficient ways to carry out the current negotiations.

Sweden found the zero draft balanced and with the necessary holistic approach. It welcomed the people-centred approach to disaster risk management, and noted that human rights and gender perspectives should be reflected in the political declaration. More investment was needed in disaster prevention, such as economic infrastructure and socio-cultural, environmental and climate resilience.

Yemen said that natural disasters were the major challenges faced by Yemen and had resulted in a loss of $ 200 million. Following the floods in 2008 in the eastern part of the country, economic losses were even greater and amounted to 6 per cent of the GDP of the country. Climate change exacerbated natural disasters, in particular for more vulnerable populations. Despite the political commitment, the lack of human and financial resources had handicapped Yemen in achieving its commitments.

Iran said the diverse economic, social and cultural conditions of countries, in particular developing countries, should be recognized and taken into account either in defining the indexes and standards for assessment of implementation of the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction or during the Third World Conference. Iran also believed that the overall proposal should be regarded as supplementary to national policies and strategies and the sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of the affected country, as well as its consent, should be fully respected.

Mozambique said strengthened international cooperation would have to ensure that past agreements on finance, adaptation, mitigation, technology and capacity building support would be implemented. There should also be an endeavour to consolidate the alignment of the post 2015 framework on disaster risk reduction with the climate changes actions, the draft sustainable development goals and the prospective outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Sierra Leone stressed the need for biological hazards to be given priority in the post 2015 disaster reduction framework. Ebola represented the worst disaster that Sierra Leone had ever faced and it was now threatening the progress that Sierra Leone had made. There was a need to build resilience to biological disasters such as Ebola. Sierra Leone would suggest amendments to the zero draft so as to include biological hazards, and stressed the importance of complementarity between climate change, development and the reduction of disaster relief.

China welcomed the zero draft and stressed the role of disaster risk reduction, but proposed that the document’s title be changed to “international framework for disaster risk reduction 2016-2025.” It noted that the fifth target was using language that was too general regarding health and educational facilities. Instead, there should be a clear indication of data on losses from natural disasters. Disaster risk reduction measures should be commensurate with the level of economic and social development.

Argentina said more work needed to be done to include the objectives and principles of the Hyogo Framework of Action in the new framework. Furthermore, disaster risk reduction needed to be closely related to development, and to the participation of the private sector and non-governmental organizations. The linkage between climate change, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction should be reflected in a way that did not place one above the other.

Gambia said it was vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and thus it remained highly committed to the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action and other disaster risk reduction measures. The mainstreaming of policies and planning processes was therefore a priority for the Government of Gambia.

Netherlands said the Sendai Declaration should transmit three main messages: the strong urgency that Member States all feel with regard to strengthening disaster risk reduction; the need for concrete and lasting commitment; and the joint responsibility that all Member States share at different levels, as governments, private businesses or local communities. More emphasis should be given to the positive contribution that disaster prevention and risk reduction could make in supporting inclusive sustainable growth.

Sri Lanka hoped that the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction had long-term and sustainable strategies at the global level which could be practically converted into national strategies for collaborative programme coordination, facilitation and implementation. At the same time, there should be adequate flexibility at the national level. Sri Lanka assured its full cooperation and dedication to disaster risk reduction.

Mali highlighted its concerns, in particular the negative consequences of climate change, desertification, droughts, local invasions and floods. Mali had not had proper planning strategies. In the past few years, there had been 15 cases of floods which had affected between 10,000 and 45,000 persons each time. The efforts made by the Malian authorities had allowed Mali to implement disaster risk reduction measures, with the help of the World Bank, among other organizations.

Spain highlighted the importance of the development and implementation of disaster risk reduction programmes including safe schools and hospitals. In 2014 Spain chaired the European Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was channelling some of the future actions to be decided in Sendai. Prevention and response to disasters had to be diverse, and the World Conference in Sendai should offer cross-cutting management of disaster related risks.

Cameroon asked for a review of the progress in disaster risk reduction measures since the adoption of the Hyogo Framework of Action in 2005. It reminded that disaster-related economic losses continued to increase in low income countries, and noted that global poverty and disaster risk reduction could only succeed as a common effort.

Togo said Togo had achieved considerable progress in the management of emergency situations by taking advantage of the experience and knowledge shared within the Hyogo Framework of Action. It stressed the need to link disaster risk reduction and climate change, and called for effective synergies between national and international disaster risk reduction mechanisms.

Peru stated that development had an undeniable link with processes of climate change. Interaction between disaster risk management, climate change and sustainable development should be promoted. The zero draft was still in line with what was included in the previous document; however, the focus on resources to achieve these results was missing. Peru emphasized the importance of research on climate change.

Algeria acknowledged that the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action had been beneficial for Algeria, and had encouraged the participation of different parts of civil society, including women and children. The strengthening of the participation of researchers in science and technology, to develop different devices and mechanisms linked to disaster risks, was important. The current system had to be improved through new criteria and indicators, a system that was suppler, and cooperation to ensure that financing was provided and activities could be established.

South Sudan stated that it had made significant progress on drafting the National Disaster Risk Management Policy, and was now critically engaged in building partnerships with regional and international bodies, including the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. South Sudan emphasized the importance of stronger inter-linkages between disaster risk reduction, recovery and long-term development planning, and called for more coordinated and comprehensive strategies that integrated risk reduction and climate change adaptation considerations into public and private investment.

Bhutan said it was prone to multiple natural hazards, such as landslides, floods, wind storms and forest fires, and that it lacked financial and human resources to implement the necessary disaster risk reduction measures. Therefore it called for greater international cooperation and global partnership in disaster risk reduction. It focused on four key areas in disaster risk reduction: building community resilience; sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk reduction integration; local-level action; and reducing exposure risk factors.

Madagascar prioritized the community approach by improving the national information coordination system, and by building public infrastructure. It noted that it was important to include in the Hyogo Framework of Action environmental policies, public investment, and all other policy fields. It also drew attention to the need to provide support to small island developing States.

Luxembourg encouraged all stakeholders to adopt a global approach to disaster risk reduction. The zero draft and the political statement underlined the participation of civil society and the importance of strengthening public institutions. Resilience and prevention had to continue to figure at the very heart of consultations. Food insecurity and sustainable survival were core concerns as the dialogue on resilience was taking place.

Malaysia stated that it was imperative that the new framework be connected to other commitments of the international community and agreements related to the common desire to improve efforts to reduce risks of disasters. In this context, Malaysia referred to the upcoming adoption of two other strategic documents in 2015, namely the post 2015 development agenda and the Global Agreement on Climate Change, and it stressed the importance of maintaining coherence between these and the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

Zambia strongly felt that if they had to achieve the goals and objectives of the Hyogo Framework for Action, there would be challenges in terms of fundraising, reluctance of funding for investment, and failure to harmonize between disaster risk reduction and climate change urgencies, thus leading to overlapping in resource allocation. There was also a need to ensure that the proposed broad areas reflected the aspirations of peoples so as to contribute to building resilient communities and sustainable development.

Democratic Republic of the Congo believed that inequalities between developed countries, developing countries and small island developing States should be taken into account. Scientific and technical knowledge was required for developing countries to strengthen their resilience to disaster. The Democratic Republic of the Congo believed that there were positive aspects of the Hyogo Framework for Action that should be taken into account in the new framework.

Guyana said that the World Conference in Sendai provided a unique opportunity to galvanize international support and intensify efforts to reduce disaster risk. Guyana believed that the post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction had to be consistent with national development realities and modalities, and with the post-2015 development agenda. It noted that the zero draft needed to place more emphasis on food security and on adequate provision of implementation means.

Zimbabwe said that economic losses due to natural disasters continued to escalate and to exacerbate the vicious cycle of poverty in Africa. The principle of common but differentiated responsibility between developed and developing countries therefore had to be clearly reflected in the zero draft.

Pakistan said that progress had been made but that much still needed to be done to enhance international cooperation in disaster risk reduction, such as international technical and financial assistance to vulnerable developing countries. These countries required predictable, adequate, sustainable and coordinated international assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels. This issue should be clearly reflected in the final document.

African Union Commission strongly urged that Africa’s contribution be fully reflected in the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. It recognized the need and importance of institutional and policy strengthening, disaster risk reduction and climate change integration and the enhancement of disaster risk reduction investments as key pillars. The Commission further urged partners and friends of Africa to support the most vulnerable continent to climate change and other natural and human induced disasters, in its efforts to reduce risks and strengthen resilience, thereby ensuring sustainable development of the African continent.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development emphasized two elements of the four priority areas of the zero draft. Regarding priority one on understanding disaster risk reduction, the Organization advised building preparedness through foresight analysis, risk assessments and financing frameworks to better anticipate complex and wide-ranging impacts. In terms of priority four on enhancing preparedness for effective response and building back better in recovery and reconstruction, they called for the development of risk adaptive capacity in crisis management by coordinating resources across the government, its agencies and broader networks to support timely decision-making, communication and emergency responses.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe referred to the Economic and Environmental Forum that it organized annually, stating that this year’s Forum had ensured an in-depth and comprehensive discussion of how its participating States could cope with disaster-related challenges to their security. The most significant conclusions of this Forum had been that there was significant importance to incorporating a security perspective into disaster risk reduction discussions, and that there was ample room for deepening the understanding of the complex linkages between security and disasters, including disasters prompted by climate change.

Economic Community of West African States reminded that West Africa was experiencing an outbreak of a new biological disaster with severe impact in terms of loss of lives, health and socio-economic development. The Ebola epidemic was the most acute public health emergency seen in modern times. ECOWAS would therefore continue to work with partners to mainstream disaster risk reduction into various policies and sectors, including gender, the involvement private sector and climate change adaptation.

International Union for Conservation of Nature stressed the importance of including ecosystem management and ecosystem based approaches to disaster risk reduction in the post 2015 framework. The Union therefore urged Member States to ensure further policy coherence at the international level by highlighting the need to invest in nature as a solution in the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

Central American Centre for Natural Disaster Prevention asked that the paragraph on expected results and objectives in the next 20 years be changed to “no more than 10 years.” It also asked that the paragraph saying that disaster risk reduction depended on government mechanisms should be amended to include the responsibility of both the private and public sector, and that countries exposed to high risk should be specifically mentioned in the zero draft, such as the countries of Central America. It also proposed that the United Nations recognize the Centre as the highest authority on the coordination of disaster risk reduction activities in Central America.

Business and Industry Major Group recommended that the zero draft be kept intact, stating that the private sector was satisfied with it. The Group had undergone informal consultations, during which they described their potential contributions towards disaster risk reduction by five visions of a resilient future under the new framework. These visions included that strong public-private partnerships drove disaster risk reduction and resilience at the local and national level; resilience in the built environment was driven by both the public sector raising minimum standards, and the private sector voluntarily working towards optimum standards; and that all financial investment decisions were risk sensitive.

Major Group of NGOs stressed the importance of including local at risk communities in order to give local players the chance to ensure locally appropriate relief measures. This approach would give importance to non-governmental organizations that were best positioned to develop strategies that could address the diversity and complexity of communities. The Group criticized the fact that the zero draft was focused more on policy action and less on community based action. Furthermore, they would like to see a greater emphasis on underlying risk and climate change factors.

Local Authorities Major Group representing cities, local and regional authorities, said that the empowerment of local and sub-national governments was specifically mentioned under the guiding principles of the post 2015 framework of disaster risk reduction. However, the zero draft did not clarify that role as it did for other stakeholders. The Group therefore suggested that urban planning be explicitly mentioned in the new framework. It also called for more emphasis on climate change adaptation, including eco-systems and community based adaptation, and more diversity in the protection of historical, cultural and religious sites.

Major Group for Women said that the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction should promote gender equality through a standalone guiding principle and appear in the Sendai Declaration. The new framework had to recognize the importance of gender equality, women’s empowerment and leadership of women. It should also institutionalize gender-responsive training and capacity-building and engage gender analysis and a human rights-based approach, as well as diverse and active participation in disaster risk reduction decision making and equitability in human resources.

Children and Youth Major Group said that young people should not be viewed as victims, but as partners in the development of the post 2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The new framework was incomplete without addressing disaster risk in the context of conflicts and other shocks and stresses. As children and youth were the future of the world, they should be formally included in all phases of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the new framework.

Workers and Trade Unions Major Group focused on the roles and responsibilities of those who put themselves at direct risk, such as firefighters, police and civil protection workers, ambulance crew, health and social service workers and similar groups. The zero draft lacked specific reference to such groups, and their status could be addressed through increased investment in public infrastructure and services.

Science and Technology Major Group was pleased that the value of scientific insights was reflected in the zero draft. They proposed a detailed review of achievements made and obstacles encountered under the Hyogo Framework for Action, and emphasized several voluntary commitments that the Science and Technology Community was able and ready to implement. The Group proposed an international process to operationalize this partnership.

For use of the information media; not an official record

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