UNDRR will convene the seventh session of the Global Platform for DRR from 23-28 May 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, to renew commitments, increase ambition, and accelerate progress on DRR.
Among other things, the meeting will take stock of progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework, and is expected to contribute to its intergovernmental mid-term review scheduled for next year.
The shift in the GPDRR’s focus from risk reduction to resilience building reflects the increasing recognition among the sustainable development community that the global challenges the world is facing are interconnected and require new approaches that build on synergies and trade-offs in a unified, integrated manner.
“Nothing undermines development like a disaster,” notes Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Head of UNDRR, in her vision statement for the UN agency with the mandate to reduce disaster risks to the point where they “no longer threaten the well-being of people and the future of the planet.” These words ring particularly true in a world where the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the “triple planetary crisis” of climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution are putting the SDGs in jeopardy, hitting the most vulnerable hardest.
Natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, earthquakes, and tsunamis, are becoming more frequent and intense, increasing the impact on people and communities. Poor planning, poverty, and ongoing conflicts are among the range of factors that create conditions of vulnerability that result in insufficient capacity to cope with natural hazards and disasters.
Action to reduce risk is seen by many as essential to safeguard sustainable development efforts and achieve the SDGs. It also makes economic sense. Every dollar invested in risk reduction can save up to USD 15 in post-disaster recovery. Every dollar invested in improving the resilience of infrastructure saves USD 4 in reconstruction.
Next week, UNDRR will convene the seventh session of the Global Platform for DRR (GP2022) in Bali, Indonesia, to renew commitments, increase ambition, and accelerate progress on DRR, which encompasses policies, strategies, and measures that can make people, cities, and countries more resilient to hazards, and reduce risk and vulnerability to disasters. The Global Platform for DRR (GPDRR) is the main multi-stakeholder global forum to assess and discuss progress, share knowledge, and identify gaps in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 – a global, non-binding agreement, adopted in 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on DRR in Sendai, Japan.
The goal of the Sendai Framework is to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through a range of integrated measures that prevent and reduce exposure and vulnerability to disasters, increase response and recovery preparedness, and improve resilience. This goal is to be achieved by substantially reducing global disaster mortality, the number of affected people, economic losses, and damage to critical infrastructure and by substantially increasing the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies, international cooperation to developing countries, and availability and access to early warning systems and DRR information.
In advance of GP2022, Mizutori underscored that we need to “rethink our approach to managing risk,” “overcome complex global hazards,” and “ensure that no one is left behind and the most vulnerable are empowered.” This is a reflection of the growing recognition that internationally agreed outcome documents in the economic, social, and environmental fields, including the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement on climate change, are “complementary and mutually reinforcing,” and “increased global partnership, solidarity and commitment” are urgently needed to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
GP2022 is meeting under the theme, ‘From Risk to Resilience: Towards Sustainable Development for All in a COVID-19 Transformed World.’ Guided by the goals of the Sendai Framework, priorities identified at the sixth session of the GPDRR in 2019, and regional platform meetings, the conference is being organized around three main sub-themes and three cross-cutting themes. The main themes are:
- Risk governance: strengthening disaster risk governance to address systemic risk;
- COVID-19 recovery: social and economic recovery from COVID-19 for all; and
- DRR financing: financing for DRR and risk-informed investments and development.
The cross-cutting themes will address:
- Sendai stocktaking: stocktaking and accelerating progress in achieving the goal and targets of the Sendai Framework;
- Leaving no one behind: investing in local action and empowering the most at risk; and
- SDGs and climate action: accelerating and integrating disaster risk management (DRM) into sustainable development and climate action.
GP2022 will include high-level dialogues, thematic sessions, mid-term review plenaries, and ministerial roundtables. The first two days of the meeting – the Preparatory Days – will feature special events and stakeholder consultations, including a Stakeholder Forum, the Fifth Edition of the World Reconstruction Conference, and the Third Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference. The meeting will contribute to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), to be held in New York in July 2022.
From reducing risk to building resilience
In the context of disaster risk, resilience is understood as “anticipating, planning and reducing disaster risk to effectively protect persons, communities and countries, their livelihoods, health, cultural heritage, socio-economic assets and ecosystems.” In the context of sustainable development, the term encompasses resilience to “climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters,” suggesting a much broader scope. The shift in the GPDRR’s focus from risk reduction to resilience building is not accidental. It signifies a change in the approach to managing risk Mizutori was talking about, in light of the increasing recognition among the sustainable development community that the global challenges the world is facing are interconnected and cannot be tackled in silos. This requires new approaches that build on synergies and trade-offs in a unified, integrated manner.
GP2022’s stocktaking of progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework is expected to contribute to its intergovernmental mid-term review scheduled for next year. The mid-term review represents a “critical inflection point to assess progress in integrating DRR into sustainable development policies, programmes and investments at all levels and to accelerate the path to achieving the goal of the Sendai Framework and its seven global targets,” as well as the DRR targets of the SDGs, by 2030. The mid-term review will conclude at a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with the adoption of a political declaration, which will inform further implementation of the Sendai Framework and contribute to the high-level meetings taking place that year.
In addition to indicating the halfway mark in the Sendai Framework’s implementation, 2023 represents the midpoint in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), and other UN frameworks. At the SDG Knowledge Hub, we will be tracking the relevant processes to provide our readers with the information they need to determine whether countries capitalize on this opportunity to “drive fundamental transformation towards sustainable development.”