In advance of the fifth Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), representatives of small island developing States (SIDS) met to share lessons learned on DRR and community resilience.
The UN launched a revised Disaster Resilience Scorecard that aligns the scorecard with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR, Robert Glasser, concluded by urging a focus on prevention, saying “it’s inconceivable that we’ll achieve the SDGs if we don’t get a handle on reducing disaster risk, including climate risk.”
22 May 2017: In advance of the fifth Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), UN leaders and representatives of small island developing States (SIDS) have highlighted the potential for achieving joint progress on DRR, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
The fifth Global Platform on DRR is the first opportunity for the global community to review progress of the implementation of the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in 2015. It is convening from 22-26 May 2017, in Cancun, Mexico, under the theme, ‘From Commitment to Action.’ Key expected outcomes include: a more sustainable DRR movement worldwide that leads to increased responsibility for strengthening resilience to disasters; a dynamic and trend-setting forum for stakeholders to announce initiatives, launch products, share information, promote campaigns, and provide DRR evidence; guidance and new alliances for the development and use of tools and methodologies aimed at understanding and applying the economics and investment of DRR; a forum to discuss progress under the Sendai Framework for DRR; and priorities and directions reflected in the outcome document, the Chair’s Summary. [IISD RS Coverage of the Global Platform] [Global Platform Website]
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR Robert Glasser commended SIDS for taking the “lead in ensuring coherence in their approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda” and “creating clear links between the Sendai Framework for DRR, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.”
In advance of the conference, SIDS representatives met to share lessons learned on DRR and community resilience. Participants stressed their vulnerability to climate change and shared examples of risk management, from planting mangroves and building seawalls to promoting strong political leadership to address climate change and DRR. SIDS representatives highlighted how their national development plans integrate climate change and DRR and emphasized the importance of involving “all arms of a country’s administration” in DRR. Participants further discussed challenges related to population movement, ranging from economic and livelihood concerns to psychological impacts from losing ancestral connections with their homes.
Speaking at the event, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR Robert Glasser described the relationship between SIDS’ small population sizes and vulnerability, noting that future disaster losses “represent an existential threat to SIDS, undermining efforts to eradicate poverty and build resilient cities and communities.” He commended SIDS for taking the “lead in ensuring coherence in their approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda” and “creating clear links between the Sendai Framework for DRR, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.” The World Bank’s Global Facility for DRR (GFDRR), organized the three-day meeting. [UN Press Release on SIDS Event] [UNISDR Press Release on First Day of SIDS Event] [UNISDR Press Release on SIDS Event]
Also in preparation for the meeting, the UN launched a revised Disaster Resilience Scorecard that aligns the scorecard with the Sendai Framework for DRR. The Scorecard provides a set of assessments for local government authorities to evaluate the social and environmental, policy and planning, engineering, financial, and organizational aspects of disaster resilience. The tool aims to help support stakeholders to develop local level strategies for reducing disaster losses from climate change and other risks drivers, and to monitor and review progress in implementing the Sendai Framework. [UN Press Release on Scorecard]
The ‘Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference: Savings lives, reducing loses,’ which convened in Cancun from 22-23 May, resulted in a ‘Consultation Document on Measuring Early Warning Access and Effectiveness.’ The document identifies a set of metrics to provide guidance on how the effectiveness of, and access to, early warning systems can be measured. The metrics are people-centered and impact-based and address risk-informed system design, monitoring and warning service, communication and dissemination, and public access and ability to respond to the warning. The Climate Risk and Early Warning (CREWS) initiative, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the World Bank’s Global Facility for DRR (GFDRR) and UNISDR contributed to the Consultation document. [Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference Website] [WMO Press Release] [Consultation Document]
In an opinion piece, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR, Robert Glasser, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, call for “joined up action” across the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change to achieve the SDGs and address DRR. They state that 90% of disasters are climate-related, observing that these disasters push 26 million people into poverty annually and cost the world economy US$520 billion per year. Glasser and Espinosa stress that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and keeping global temperature below two degrees Celsius is “the greatest contribution that governments, local governments and the private sector can make to DRR.” [UN Special Representative for DRR and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Opinion Piece]
In an interview with UN News, Glasser further underscored the connections between DRR and the SDGs. He explained the economic cost of disasters is approximately US$300-400 billion annually and results in “foregone development opportunities,” primarily as a result of economic development that is poorly risk-informed, such as hospitals built in flood zones, and climate change. Glasser concluded by urging a focus on prevention, saying “it’s inconceivable that we’ll achieve the SDGs if we don’t get a handle on reducing disaster risk, including climate risk.” [UN Special Representative for DRR Interview]