The International Roundtable of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, organized by UNISDR in partnership with the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, adopted a common declaration in Malta on 24 November 2009. Recognizing disaster risk reduction as a first line of defence in adapting to climate change, the parliamentarians urge for political commitment through action at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
The Declaration calls for all the Parties at the COP 15 Conference to 'ensure immediate action for the finalization of a legally-binding agreement, with progressive and accessible financing mechanisms adequate for reaching the goals of disaster risk reduction coupled with accessible appropriate technology, to ensure availability based on region-specific vulnerabilities.'
The ‘Declaration’ is a result of a series of UNISDR consultative meetings of parliamentarians around the World, under the theme of ‘Making Disaster Risk Reduction a Tool for Climate Change Adaptation’. The Declaration has benefited greatly from the results of previous consultative meetings with parliamentarians held in Asia, African and Latin America. Furthermore, support was provided to the Pan-African Parliament session on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in South Africa.
The goals of these meetings was to increase the understanding and knowledge of national legislators on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and to make these topics a parliamentary agenda at national and regional levels, which will progressively lead to the desired growing of national investment and improved legislations for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Among the successes of this initiative is the passing of the "Climate Change Act of 2009” in the Philippines, which is intended to integrate disaster risk reduction measures into climate change adaptation plans, development and poverty reduction programs. Engaged parliamentarians also contributed to the formulation of the Black and Green, ready to lead Campaign with its objective to increase awareness of disaster risk and impact of climate change among Africans.
The parliamentarians participating in the meeting expressed their strong commitment to disseminate the Malta Declaration among their fellow parliamentarians at all levels, especially at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen and at the IPU and the Danish Folketing High Level Meeting of Parliamentarians on the occasion of the COP15. Furthermore, the parliamentarians will continue to work together under the same theme Making disaster risk reduction a tool for climate change adaptation and to translate the Declaration into action at national and local levels.
Photo courtesy of PAM