Putting words into action: Red Cross Red Crescent highlights its priorities in Asia Pacific during AMCDRR 2016

Publié: 10 novembre 2016 2:40 CET

By Kate Jean Smith, IFRC

Representatives from Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies across Asia, including experts in health and disaster management gathered last week in Delhi for the 7th Asian Ministerial Conference in Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), to join governments, UN agencies and NGOs to discuss how to best put into action last year’s formative Sendai Agreement on disaster risk reduction.

At the conference, the Red Cross Red Crescent highlighted its key priorities in protecting the region’s most vulnerable in the world's most disaster prone region - Asia Pacific.

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Supporting local action through local actors and driving stronger laws and regulations

During the conference, Gabby Emery, the IFRC Asia Pacific Disaster Law Programme Coordinator, stressed the need for collective investment to ensure that local actors, in conjunction with government and NGOs, are the primary decision-makers on risk reduction activities.

"Local actors, including Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, carry many advantages in disaster management," she explained. "This is a key message we brought to the AMCDRR." 

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The conference also provided an opportunity to highlight the progress of strenghtening risk governance frameworks for disasters, as many governments have made the paradigm shift from disaster management (focused on response during and after a disaster) to disaster risk management (pre-disasters).  

“It was promising to see governments endorse the work of IFRC’s disaster law programme in statements made at AMCDRR, and to hear them talk positively about their partnerships with National Societies and the IFRC to strengthen their disaster laws, for example in Mongolia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Timor-Leste," said Emery. "The next steps are to ensure we capitalize on AMCDRR and ensure that these regional commitments and promises come to life and benefit the communities we serve.”


Building resilience to climate change and advocating for investment in disaster risk reduction

As the world continues to experience extreme weather events, communities also need to be prepared to face the impacts of climate change. Donna Lagdameo, Climate Advisor at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre highlighted the importance of working together to bridge humanitarian, development and climate agendas. 

“At a community-level, we need to draw on climate information in risk analyses," said Lagdameo. "But we also need to mainstream it into risk reduction and development policies and investments. Timely, open access early warning and information across different time scales will enable us to act based on forecast.”

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Currently, around two-thirds of disaster spending occurs after a disaster, despite the fact that investing in building resilience before an event saves lives and money.  The key message for participants during the conference, based on the IFRC World Disasters Report 2016,  is that investing in resilience saves lives and money.

“Business as usual is no longer acceptable. We need to invest much more ahead of time. This will help us protect the lives, livelihoods and dignity of the world's most vulnerable people” said Lagdameo.


Calling for a more collaborative approach

Lagdameo also explained that one of the biggest challenges in the way disaster risk is currently being approached is a lack of coherence between the various levels (global, regional, national and local) and actors.

The challenges cannot be addressed alone; they require partnership between the Red Cross Red Crescent, the private sector, government, non-government actors, civil society, international NGOs, intergovernmental actors, and most importantly, local actors.

To build new partnerships to support stronger, more resilient communities, the IFRC has initiated the One Billion Coalition for Resilience, a global initiative which brings together partners from all sectors, from local to global, to motivate, inform, mobilize and support communities to take action.

To learn more and join the Coalition, click here 


Promoting youth engagement and leadership

“When children and youth are taught on how to participate in conducting school and community-based risk assessments by themselves, they own the process, realize the key risks and start critically thinking what “they” can also act upon it”, said Lai Wai Keat, a youth volunteer from the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, in a speech at AMCDRR.

As part of the IFRC’s Action Statement at AMCDRR, the IFRC committed to ensuring continued youth engagement by investing in youth leadership on disaster risk reduction and foster an enabling environment to facilitate youth-led initiatives to build resilient communities.


Upholding the active participation of women and marginalized groups

The meaningful participation of women and often marginalized groups is a crucial element in building communities resilience to disaster, said Chrissy Haneef, current Gender and Diversity Adviser for IFRC Asia Pacific, who joined the IFRC delegation to AMCDRR in Delhi last week.

“The Sendai Framework called for a gender, age, disability and cultural perspective in all (disaster-related) policies and practices; and the promotion of women’s and youth active leadership in disaster risk reduction.  This recognition was of key importance leading into AMCDRR.

“At the conference, women’s leadership and participation, as well as the participation of people with disabilities and diverse minority and marginalized groups were among the key issues brought up. In the final Delhi Declaration, issued at the close of the talks, the importance of women’s leadership was highlighted.

For more information on IFRC’s work in gender and diversity, including Strategic Framework on Gender and Diversity Issues 2013-2020, click here.

For updates on IFRC’s work, follow @IFRCAsiaPacific on Twitter