ECOSOC Addresses Recent Disasters, Urges Countries to “Build Back Better”
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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ECOSOC Special Meeting on the ‘Aftermath of recent hurricanes: Achieving a risk-informed and resilient 2030 Agenda’ highlighted the economic, social and ecological dimensions of recent natural disasters, and how they will impact development gains and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.

The meeting resulted in a ‘Presidential Statement,’ which calls for greater investment in DRR, including preparedness, early warning and early action, as well as risk-informed investment in infrastructure and housing.

24 October 2017: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has urged that the humanitarian responses to recent hurricanes, floods and earthquakes be complemented by medium- and long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts that put countries “on a sustainable path toward achieving a risk-informed and resilient 2030 Agenda.”

ECOSOC Special Meeting on the ‘Aftermath of recent hurricanes: Ahchieving a risk-informed and resilient 2030 Agenda,’ which was convened on 24 October 2017, in New York, US, discussed how the UN system and its partners can improve collaboration to help countries reduce risk. It highlighted the economic, social and ecological dimensions of the recent natural disasters, and how they will impact development gains and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting urged enhanced coordination in response, recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development efforts in their aftermath.

UNGA President Miroslav Lajčák cited climate and economic vulnerability, as well as vulnerability to natural disasters, conflict and instability, as obstacles to achieving the SDGs.

The meeting resulted in a ‘Presidential Statement,’ extending solidarity to those affected by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, Central America and the US, earthquakes in Mexico, and floods in Africa and South Asia. It calls for greater investment in disaster risk reduction (DRR), including preparedness, early warning and early action, as well as risk-informed investment in infrastructure and housing. The Statement urges stronger collaboration, connectivity and complementarity between humanitarian, development, DRR and climate action in order to reduce need, risk and vulnerability. It calls for longer-term recovery, development and reconstruction programmes, and support for vulnerable countries to diversify economies and harness the benefits of digital economy to enhance economic resilience. The Council will follow-up in 2018 to ensure progress is being made.

During the meeting, ECOSOC President Marie Chatardová emphasized pursuit of a risk-informed, resilient 2030 Agenda to ensure development gains are not reversed. Participants discussed: the need to “build back better”; measures and practices undertaken by countries to manage and respond to natural disasters; mechanisms for accessing finance on concessional terms for climate vulnerable states; and revisiting criteria for country classification and the need to consider vulnerability to economic shocks and natural disasters.

In her remarks, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for “harnessing the power of technology, innovation and partnerships,” and overcoming policy, institutional and programmatic silos in which climate change, DRR and environment efforts are often pursued. She outlined a three-pronged approach to: meet immediate needs; put concessionary financing arrangements in place; and design and implement a framework for long-term financing for resilience.

In his introduction, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajčák cited climate and economic vulnerability, as well as vulnerability to natural disasters, conflict and instability, as obstacles to achieving the SDGs. He highlighted the pledge made by Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit to become the world’s first climate-resistant nation by redesigning settlements, integrating clean energy, and reinforcing water and sanitation systems. [ECOSOC Meeting Website] [Statement by UNGA President Miroslav Lajčák] [Statement by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed] [ECOSOC Presidential Statement] [Meeting Concept Note] [CARICOM Statement] [UN Press Release on Long-term Measures to Tackle Climate Disasters] [UN Press Release on ‘Building Back Better’]

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