By Andy McElroy
Geneva – Finland is set to follow in the footsteps of the UK this week and launch a peer review of its national implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global agreement on disaster risk reduction.
The 4th European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) heard that Finland is aiming for the same impact as the UK’s peer review – the world’s first – which served as a catalyst for high-level engagement and reflection.
As Finland prepared for its review, which gets underway on 5 October, EFDRR members called for a better understanding of advances in governance and accountability of disaster management. They agreed to consolidate Europe’s learning in this regard.
Similarly, as part of consultations ahead of the post-2015 international framework for disaster risk reduction, EFDRR members reiterated support of work towards reducing disaster risks at the local level. Germany, Norway, Poland, France and the European Commission/DG Climate Action and the Council of Europe have been in the lead on this process thus far.
The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Office for Europe, Paola Albrito, said: “The EFDRR confirmed the firm commitment of our European actors and regional partners for a sound joint collaboration towards building resilience to disasters in the region.”
European countries have achieved significant progress in implementing the HFA. The recent establishment of national platforms for disaster risk reduction in Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Greece has brought the total number on the continent to 25.
There has also been movement in the establishment of legal and regulatory frameworks for DRR. More countries are moving from a culture of reactive disaster response and recovery to proactive risk reduction and safety. However, significant challenges remain in implementing the HFA, particularly in terms of the lack of adequate resources to support DRR measures.
The Forum agreed it needed to strengthen its influence on policymaking and practice as part of the global consultations to forge a post-2015 international framework at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan, in 2015.
Mr Dag Olav Hogvold, of the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, highlighted two important principles for the Forum to continue to prosper.
“First, international cooperation benefits all of us; we don’t do it just for the sake of it. Second, we need to keep trying to work with nature rather than trying to beat it,” he said.
The European Forum was hosted by the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning and organised in collaboration with UNISDR and the Council of Europe.
The platform advocates for strong implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and acts as a knowledge sharing platform for various European partners.
The 5th European Forum is due to be in Madrid, in September 2014 hosted by Spain’s National Office for Civil Protection.