Geneva (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) — Clear roles and mandates are frequently lacking from national platforms for disaster risk reduction, said several government representatives meeting today on the international framework for disaster risk reduction to be adopted in 2015. To be effective, such platforms should involve coordination among all the relevant actors, including the private sector and civil society, which were also part of this morning’s discussions. The meeting, which is part of the fourth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction being held here this week, recommended the development of disaster risk reduction networks, virtual platforms for exchanging information and knowledge, and the provision of legal status to national platforms.
Elisabeth Longworth, Director of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Secretariat, said it was important to review the evolution of national platforms within the new Framework, known as HFA2.
Representatives of several disaster management agencies stressed the need for all sectors to participate in the national platforms, from local, provincial and national stakeholders to high-level political decision-makers and the private sector.
Sweden’s national platform, as described by Helena Lindberg of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, had resulted in better understanding of the subject, with relevant changes made to the agency’s approach and actions. Climate change adaptation and risk management had been enhanced by the creation of the platform, and a new model was being applied to more than 100 national projects, all of which retained a strong focus on HFA implementation. Addressing the European dimension, she said it relied heavily on developing effective public-private cooperation and on the different platforms sharing training and information.
A.K. Mangotra of the Ministry of Home Affairs of India said that his country was very prone to natural disasters but that there was a strong political commitment to disaster reduction strategies. The focus was on involvement at the grassroots level, where implementation was hampered by a lack of dedicated funding, risk financing and data networks.
Jorge Rodriguez of Panama, which he called the fourteenth most hazard-exposed country in the world, said that accelerated growth further increased its vulnerability, as had been demonstrated by the disaster-induced closure of the Panama Canal for a few hours in 2010, which had affected business worldwide. The country now benefited from a World Bank-funded global platform, a regional action plan, relevant legislation and the involvement of more than 40 stakeholders.
Madhavi Ariyabandu of the UNISDR Asia-Pacific Office highlighted the importance of participatory and inclusive consultation processes with such stakeholder groups as minorities, women and the disabled; women’s leadership potential to promote the issues should also be developed. Climate change issues should be integrated more fully into the HFA2, and disaster risk reduction should make better use of science and technology for collaborative learning.