Asian Ministerial Calls for Accountability for Disaster Losses, Advances Work to Reduce Displacement
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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The ‘Action Plan 2018-2020 of the Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030’ outlines a number of priorities, as well as regional, national and local actions to achieve them.

The Ulaanbataar Declaration calls for, inter alia, ensuring greater accountability for DRR, including by collecting and recording disaster damage and losses, and using the Sendai Framework Monitor to assess progress in achieving targets and indicators.

The conference saw the launch of a regional consultation process on new guidelines to encourage inclusion of disaster displacement reduction in DRR strategies.

9 July 2018: The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) gathered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, aiming to increase funding for DRR and advance disaster prevention efforts. The conference concluded with the adoption of the Ulaanbaatar Declaration, which calls for greater accountability for disaster losses in Asia, the world’s most disaster-prone region, as well as a two-year action plan to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in Asia.

Organized by the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR) and the Government of Mongolia, the conference convened from 3-6 July 2018. It brought together participants from over 1,500 organizations and more than 50 countries, including government ministers, representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and civil society groups representing women, children and youth, and people with disabilities. The conference focused on the themes of, inter alia: resilient infrastructure, including its integration in national plans; displacement; social protection; and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

According to UNISDR, in 2017, more than 200 disasters affected 66.7 million people in Asia, killing over 6,500. Over the last 50 years, the Asia-Pacific region has suffered nearly US$1.3 trillion in economic losses to disasters, and losses in the region could surpass US$160 billion annually by 2030, UNISDR estimates. Participants highlighted the critical role of disaster loss reduction in achieving the SDGs, noting that accelerating action and increasing investment in DRR will reduce mortality levels and financial losses.

In a video message to the conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that climate change, rapid and unplanned urbanization, and entrenched poverty are exacerbating the impact of extreme weather events and earthquakes. [UN Secretary-General’s Statement to the Conference]

Over the last 50 years, the Asia Pacific region has suffered nearly US$1.3 trillion in economic losses to disasters, and losses in the region could surpass US$160 billion annually by 2030.

Mongolia’s Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa outlined preconditions for sustainable development, including information and knowledge sharing, education, resilient agriculture, business continuity, and financial mechanisms for investment in disaster resilience. UN Special Representative for DRR Mami Mizutori said that further progress to reduce disaster risk depends on community-level action, national-level political leadership and improved collection of data to determine success of disaster losses reduction. [Conference Website] [UNISDR Press Release on Opening of Conference] [UNISDR Press Release on Asian Leadership] [UNISDR Press Release on Bringing Disaster Risk to the Forefront]

The ‘Action Plan 2018-2020 of the Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030,’ adopted by the conference, outlines a number of priorities, as well as regional, national and local actions to achieve them. Priorities include: understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in DRR for resilience; enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to build back better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. [Action Plan of the Asia Regional Plan 2018-2020 for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030]

The Ulaanbaatar Declaration calls on governments and stakeholders to, inter alia:

  • ensure a human rights-based, people-centered and whole-of-society approach in development, implementation and monitoring of DRR strategies inclusive of women and girls, children and youth, persons with disabilities, older persons, and displaced and migrant populations;
  • promote full and equal participation of women in leading, designing, and implementing gender-sensitive DRR policies, plans and programmes;
  • reinforce PPPs in DRR, including the use of different disaster risk transfer and financing instruments such as insurance, forecast-based financing and social protection schemes;
  • integrate climate change adaptation and DRR, including furthering the resilience of natural ecosystems; and
  • scale up early warning systems and early action, including for hard-to-reach and remote populations.

The Declaration calls for ensuring greater accountability for DRR, including by collecting and recording disaster damage and losses, and using the Sendai Framework Monitor to assess progress in achieving targets and indicators. [Ulaanbaatar Declaration] [UNISDR Press Release on Ulaanbaatar Declaration]

The conference also focused on displacement in the region, where, in 2017, an estimated 11.4 million people were displaced from their homes by disaster events. Speakers noted advance measures that governments can take, such as identifying land to host displaced families and early interventions like forecast-based financing, where funds are released before disasters occur based on weather predictions.

The conference saw the launch of a regional consultation process on new guidelines to encourage inclusion of disaster displacement reduction in DRR strategies. The guidelines recommend, inter alia: conducting risk assessments that gather displacement data to help inform strategies; considering displacement risk in national and local laws, regulations and policies; and consulting displaced communities on DRR and development plans. [Guide on Disaster Displacement News Story] [UNISDR Press Release on Disaster Displacement] [UNISDR Press Release on Chronic Disaster Displacement in Asia]

Other issues addressed by the conference include strengthening disaster resilient infrastructure, the role of social protection programmes and safety nets in reducing disaster risk for the poor, and animal losses during disasters.[UNISDR Press Release on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure] [UNISDR Press Release on Social Protection Reducing Disaster Risk] [UNISDR Press Release on Animals and DRR] [Animals in Disasters Website]


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