29 June 2018: The 2018 Sub-Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Central Asia and South Caucasus has issued a declaration emphasizing the participants’ commitment to strengthening implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Yerevan Declaration emphasizes regional cooperation to strengthen disaster resilience, particularly through data sharing, capacity building, exchange of best practices and technical expertise. It recognizes the low penetration of risk reduction mechanisms for the poor and most vulnerable, and calls attention to the threat of Natech disasters (when natural disasters cause technological disasters).

The Declaration further reaffirms participants’ determination to work with relevant stakeholders to, inter alia, implement the Sendai Framework in coherence with the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and other relevant instruments. It recognizes the importance of engaging local governments to implement and invest in DRR, and promotes the localization and dissemination of best practices in disaster risk identification, assessment and modeling, and their use in DRR education and raising public awareness.

The Declaration further calls for: making disaster risk assessments a prerequisite for land use, urban planning, infrastructure and housing investments; strengthening National Platforms for DRR by including women, people with disabilities, children, youth and other stakeholders; and establishing national disaster loss accounting mechanisms disaggregated by location, gender, age and income level.

Participants called for a holistic approach involving a range of government ministries and stakeholders to address DRR and resilience building.

The Sub-Regional Platform, which convened from 26-27 June 2018, in Yerevan, Armenia, brought together more than 200 representatives of governments, stakeholder groups, and development and humanitarian organizations under the theme ‘An Integrated Platform for Sustainable Development and Building Resilience.’

The meeting highlighted progress made on resilience, economic risks and achieving the Sendai Framework 2020 targets at the local level, particularly on developing national and local DRR strategies by 2020. Participants assessed progress made on the 2016 Dushanbe Declaration on DRR for Resilience Building and its Plan of Action, agreed in 2016 in Tajikistan. All countries in the region are now reporting under the monitoring system for meeting the Sendai targets, and stepping up efforts to include DRR in emergency management plans or dedicated strategies. The meeting also highlighted challenges, including economic damages from disasters, risks to critical infrastructure, urbanization and more extreme weather due to climate change.

During the event, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRR and Head of the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR), emphasized the importance of risk-proof investments, including in housing, schools, infrastructure and transport routes. Ararat Mirzoyan, Armenia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, underscored the need for regional cooperation, noting that “disasters know no borders.” Other speakers identified the need for, inter alia, a holistic approach involving a range of government ministries and stakeholders to address DRR and resilience building.

Armenia will present the Yerevan Declaration to the European Forum for DRR in November 2018 in Rome, Italy, and to the Global Platform for DRR in May 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland. [UNISDR Press Release on Yerevan Declaration] [UNISDR Press Release on Meeting] [Conference Website] [Yerevan Declaration]