By Maria Hasan
New York - The UN General Assembly confirmed that Japan will host the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 when it passed its annual resolution yesterday on the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
Previously, Japan successfully hosted the last two such world conferences. The world's first comprehensive framework for disaster risk reduction resulted from the last world conference held in Kobe in January 2005 where there was unanimous support for the "Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA)."
The post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction is expected to offer the opportunity to scale-up disaster risk reduction efforts across the globe. There appears to be an emerging consensus from on-going consultations that it should build on the strengths of the HFA and focus on those elements that are still in need of further action.
The Mid-Term Review of HFA implementation shows that while the agreement has generated significant international and national action around disaster risk reduction, its results have been uneven across the world and insufficient at the local level. These are some of the areas the new international agreement will aspire to deliver on more effectively.
Conceptualisation of the new framework has already begun ahead of the conference. UNISDR has been working to facilitate a consultative process through national and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction.
Bearing in mind that disaster risk reduction is everybody's business, this process has been inclusive of multiple stakeholders including government actors, international organizations, and civil society institutions. The private sector has also been included as it is one of the major drivers of a country's economy and is strategically positioned to make investment decisions that make communities safer.
Just last week, the 3rd session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas was held in Santiago, Chile, where attendees met to review the implementation of the HFA and deliberate on a post-2015 framework. Earlier in the year, Europe and Asia held regional platforms in Croatia and Indonesia respectively. These platforms were attended by a wide range of actors -- high-level policy makers, ministers, local government leaders, civil society organizations, the private sector and academia -- to nurture an inclusive and wide-ranging discussion on the future of disaster risk reduction. In the months ahead, similar gatherings will take place in Africa and the Arab States.
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction resolution passed yesterday also encourages Member States to develop national disaster loss databases, and to employ disaster risk mapping and financial tracking systems. These tools improve availability of evidence and risk information to decision makers at all levels of society. The resolution calls on governments to use the HFA monitoring system which can inform a global assessment of the progress made in disaster risk reduction efforts.
The year 2015 is also when the Millennium Development Goals culminate and the world decides on the post-2015 development agenda. The resolution stresses linkages between disaster risk reduction and long term development planning and asks governments to give appropriate consideration to disaster risk reduction within the post-2015 development agenda.
A coherent approach across both frameworks will ensure that DRR is mainstreamed into development sectors rather than being treated as a stand-alone issue. This is critical so that future development investments do not create new risks but instead contribute to the resilience and sustainability of communities.
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