UNDP, UNISDR and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) are organizing the First Regional Conference on DRR Challenges and Progress in the Arab Region – including HFA implementation and post 2015 Agenda – with a thematic focus on Urban Disaster Risk Management. The conference will be held on 19-21 March 2013 in Aqaba, Jordan. The Conference will be hosted jointly by UNDP Jordan and Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). The Conference is organized in partnership with the League of Arab States and the Jordanian Government and will be attended by national ministers, senior government officials, city mayors, civil society representatives, bilateral development agencies and United Nations officials.
The Conference will discuss: i) the existing policies and institutional mechanisms for disaster risk management, ii) the regional progress towards risk reduction and HFA implementation, iii) the regional position and input towards HFA 2 or post-2015 DRR Global Framework, iv) the nature of urban risks in the Arab region and v) good practices on urban risk management. Based upon these discussions, the Conference will formulate and issue a Conference Outcome Statement and a Mayor’s Declaration on Urban Risk Management in Arab Cities. The Mayor’s Declaration will set goals, targets and indicators for reducing disaster risks in the Arab Cities. The Mayor’s Declaration will demonstrate commitment of the participating city authorities to improve their capacities for disaster risk management. The Conference Outcome Statement and the Mayor’s Declaration will also provide the basis for advocacy to city and national governments in the Arab region to enhance and accelerate their actions on disaster risk management.
Furthermore, the conference will also debate and discuss current globally evolving issues of concerns with regard to disaster risk reduction in order to understand their implications on the Arab region as well as how to best address them regionally and nationally in the context of Arab regions’ priorities and challenges. These issues include:
-Making cities, schools and hospitals resilient to disasters including a focus on the role of local authorities and municipalities in urban risk reduction
-Mitigating and preventing emerging risk due to synchronized disasters caused by natural hazards and leading to technological, nuclear and industrial accidents
-Strengthening capacity and investments to reduce the risk of large-scale destructive disasters caused by tsunamis and earthquakes
-The Conference will launch the Arab Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction as a regional coordination mechanism on DRR that facilitate exchanges among countries and partners and ensure follow-up of progress and engagement of stakeholders in regional and global policies and plans on DRR and sustainable development. In conclusion, an Arab Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction provides a forum where Arab politicians, policy makers, academia and other development experts can periodically discuss issues and challenges facing the region with regards to disaster risk reduction, including to increase investment in disaster risk reduction, and to issue policy guidelines.
-Conference will facilitate development of an Arab position for the 4th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction taking place in Geneva May 2013.
-Conference will facilitate development of recommendations for HFA 2 (post-2015)
-The Conference will issue an Arab Mayor’s Declaration on Urban Risk Reduction. The Arab Mayor’s Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction aims to establish benchmarks for reducing disaster risks in the Arab cities, given the fact that many capital cities and business centers of the Arab region are exposed to variety of disasters, which could lead to colossal losses.
-Official delegations of the Arab governments representing national focal points for disaster risk reduction in each country
-Mayors from major high risk Arab cities
-The Secretariat of the Arab League and all the Arab specialized organizations
-United Nations organizations and International organizations working in the Arab region with focus on disaster risk reduction
-Bilateral development agencies
-Civil society organizations active in the field of risk reduction at the regional level
-Arab Funds for development, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank
-Arab media organizations
-Representatives from the private sector, insurance corporations concerned with issues of risk reduction and the Union of Arab Investors
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