23 November 2018: A declaration spelling out challenges and opportunities facing the European region as it seeks to reduce disaster risks and losses was adopted by representatives of European countries, stakeholder groups and partners at the European Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The ‘Rome Declaration of Stakeholders: Securing Europe’s Prosperity: Reducing Risk of Disasters’ calls on governments and stakeholders to urgently accelerate actions for developing and implementing national and local DRR strategies to meet the Sendai Framework targets, and to support a more systematic integration of climate risks of into DRR, prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The forum, which convened from 21-23 November 2018 in Rome, Italy, addressed ways to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR in alignment with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and provided an opportunity to exchange views and move forward on local-level resilience, economic risks and achieving the Sendai Framework’s 2020 priority targets.

The European DRR community is united on an all-of-society approach to building disaster resilience.

The meeting also focused on disaster loss data collection for improving disaster risk management (DRM), and promised continued support to implement the Sendai Framework both inside and outside the EU. Participants highlighted the importance of good communication and coordination across government departments to enable faster response times to disasters and improved DRM.

Addressing the forum, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR and Head of the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR), said adoption of the Rome Declaration shows that the DRR community in Europe is united on such issues as coherence and the need for inclusion, gender equality and “an all-of-society approach” to building disaster resilience, including for the poor, migrants and those challenged by mobility.

Paola Albrito, UNISDR’s Europe Office, identified Europe as a source of innovation on DRR, particularly related to sustainable finance measures that emphasize risk-informed investment approaches by the private sector.

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

  • recognize the value and benefits of ecosystem services and nature-based DRR solutions;
  • promote risk- and climate-sensitive public and private investments for building disaster resilience, and explore the potential of a dedicated financial enquiry on unlocking investment;
  • implement “build back better” policies, and improve early warning systems, as well as urban and land use planning;
  • ensure the use of disaster risk assessments as a prerequisite for infrastructure investments, and address ageing infrastructure;
  • help safeguard tangible and intangible cultural heritage;
  • promote inclusion and utilization of science, data and technology in evidence-based decisions and risk-informed policies; and
  • facilitate the relationship with civil society in implementing the Sendai Framework, including at the community level.

The European Forum on DRR, convened by UNISDR and EU partners, facilitates discussion and advances on DRR issues in a coordinated manner at the regional level. Portugal will host the next European Forum on DRR in 2020. [Rome Declaration on DRR] [UNISDR Press Release] [European Forum on DRR Website]