The 4th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Geneva from May 19th to May 23rd on the theme: “Invest Today for a Safer Tomorrow.” The Global Platform is organized by UNISDR, the UN's office for disaster risk reduction and secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. More than 3,000 participants have attended this event, including delegates from 165 governments, 130 academic institutions, 209 NGOs and 67 private sector companies. The Centre was represented by Dr. Kenan Bagci, Senior Researcher, at the Global Platform.
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is the main gathering of governments and professionals committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations. The Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction aimed to continue the momentum of the prior Global Platform meetings (2007, 2009 and 2011), into a sustained effort from all actors to take responsibility in reducing risks and reinforcing resilience in our communities. The Fourth Session provided also an opportunity to progress and consult on the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) - building the resilience of nations and communities to disaster (2005-2015) and prepare for HFA 2 - a post-2015 framework.
The Global Platform was established in 2007 as a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest development and knowledge and partnership-building across sectors, with the goal to improve implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders. The 2013 Global Platform devoted special attention to three critical areas: private sector investment in disaster risk management; the work of local communities, networks, and supporting policies in building resilience; and local and national efforts to implement the HFA, as well as on an action agenda for building disaster resilience in a post- 2015 successor agenda.
The meeting discussed progress on a 10-year global plan to reduce disaster risk, known as the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), and the shape of a new pact that will succeed it in 2015. The HFA came out of the world conference held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, in 2005. It is the first plan to explain, describe and detail the work that is required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses. The HFA outlines five priorities for action, and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving disaster resilience. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
During the Global Platform, UNISDR released the most detailed account yet of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. It finds that, since 2005, 121 countries have enacted legislation to establish policy and legal frameworks for disaster risk reduction. In addition, 191 countries have established HFA focal points and 85 countries have set up national coordinating bodies for disaster risk reduction. While noting that almost 90 per cent of countries report the integration of disaster risk reduction in some form within public investment and planning decisions, the report finds that a key challenge is finding the resources to ensure that frameworks and principles become operational.
Among the events at the forum was the launch of a new interactive tool for accessing disaster data. With the touch of a finger, users of “GAR for Tangible Earth” can access real-time weather data or check historical disaster patterns. It uses earth science data from the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, released earlier this month by UNISDR (the application can be downloaded for free from iTunes). Among other functions, they can request hourly weather updates or query the probability of seismic events for a given region. They can also make correlations between such phenomena as continental drift, global warming and the growth of megacities.
The Global Platform is highly important for the international community to agree a strong successor framework that builds on the achievements of the Hyogo Framework for Action, and to ensure clear links between discussions on post-2015 frameworks to enable sustainable development through reduced disaster loss. While progress has been made on integrating DRR in humanitarian action, now the development community has a crucial role to play in raising awareness and practice of disaster risk reduction to protect lives and livelihoods in the global south.
2015 is a key year for the global development agenda. The processes towards developing renewed post-2015 frameworks represent an opportunity to raise awareness of the link between disaster risk and poverty, and to better 'disaster-proof' development to ensure development outcomes are sustainable and investments are not lost. Clear links between the next generation of frameworks, reflecting the interconnectedness that exists between disaster-risk reduction, climate change adaptation and poverty reduction, will be essential.
Delegates at the 4th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction called for immediately starting work on developing targets and indicators to monitor the reduction of risk, ahead of next year’s conference, to be held in the Japanese city of Sendai. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said that the meeting had lived up to its task of finding common ground for reducing disaster risk.
More information on the highligts and outcomes of the event can be obtained from the official website of the Platform at: http://www.preventionweb.net/globalplatform/2013/.