Agreement reached on new global framework for disaster risk reduction

Publié: 18 mars 2015 20:23 CET

By Patrick Fuller, IFRC

After 30 hours of negotiations, consensus was finally reached on a new global framework that will guide disaster risk reduction policy and programming for the next 10-15 years.

Speaking on the final day of the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “The adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 opens a new chapter in sustainable development as it outlines clear targets and priorities for action which will lead to a substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.”

The outcome document aligns with many of the positions the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been advocating; it promotes coherence across systems, sectors and organizations related to sustainable development; recognizes that climate change is one of the drivers of disaster risk; and reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and partnerships.

Walter Cotte, IFRC Under Secretary General for Programme Services said the IFRC delegation was very well represented in all formal events of the WCDRR. “Our collective contributions helped to raise the voice of the most vulnerable, ensuring that community resilience was always high on the conference agenda and central to discussions,” he said.

During the conference, representatives of 42 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from around the world were actively engaged in plenary discussions, working sessions, side-events and public forums.

At a working session focused on Early Warning, Gwendolyn Pang, Secretary General of Philippine Red Cross, recalled how many communities did not act on warnings before Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, because they did not understand the terms used. “We need local community mobilizers on the ground who can communicate with communities. People at risk are not just passive recipients of information," she said.

At a session on ‘disaster induced relocation’, Naoki Kokawa from the Japanese Red Cross made an intervention from the floor describing the lengthy, complicated process of consensus-building among community members in the recovery process that followed the March 11, Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. He emphasized the importance of having neutral and experienced facilitators who can help community members to agree on shaping their future.

Chairing a session on disaster risk management for healthy societies, IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy, stressed how good health must be a key component in efforts to strengthen community resilience.  “Through our 17 million volunteers we can extend partnerships to work hand-in-hand with various public, private and community-based partners to improve people’s physical, mental and social well-being,” he said.

During the WCDRR, Sy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr Joan Clos, Executive Director of UNHABITAT.  “This MoU strengthens our partnership in building resilience among urban populations, enabling us to work more effectively with governments, the private sector and academia,” said Sy.

Legal frameworks and disaster risk reduction were firmly on the agenda at the WCDRR. The IFRC called upon states to ensure that their legal frameworks promote more integrated and risk focused approaches to land use planning and development planning. IFRC also stressed the need for the enforcement of building codes particularly in developing countries that are earthquake prone and undergoing rapid urbanisation.