Five-year roadmap to cope with weather-related hazards in Asia

Fifty Asian and Pacific region governments have agreed to make risk reduction part of their national climate change adaptation policies to cope with the increase in more frequent and severe weather-related events. The calls come just as Indonesia was hit by a double disaster, a tsunami and volcanic eruption, which together have killed hundreds of people and caused thousands to flee their homes and as cyclone Giri caused heavy flooding in Myanmar and Thailand.

Officials meeting at the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction have approved a five-year regional roadmap to establish climate resilient disaster risk management systems by 2015 that will contribute to sustainable development at the regional, national and community levels.

“This is the first time that governments agree at a regional level to recognize disaster risk reduction as a main tool to adapt to climate change and adopt a common regional climate risk management approach to reduce weather-related disaster impacts,” said Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The roadmap, known as Incheon REMAP, focuses on three main themes: raising awareness and building capacities of communities so they can better cope with more weather-related hazards; sharing information through new technologies and sound practices in climate and disaster risk management so decision-makers can be better informed; and promoting integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation as part of sustainable development policies.

“I believe that the REMAP can become a guideline for all nations in the region and beyond to follow as a way to contribute to effective disaster reduction and climate change adaptation,” said M. Park Yeon-soo, Administrator of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which hosted the Fourth Ministerial Conference.

The roadmap also calls for more regional training and research programmes in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and the need to develop a platform to share information and new technologies on emerging risks and vulnerability. This includes improving a country’s hydro-meteorological capacities to increase preparedness, forecasting, risk transfer, early warning and evacuation systems as well as incorporating disaster risk in urban development for communities at the highest level of exposure.

This road map includes a clear outline of the steps that need to be undertaken to reach the overall objectives, and a clear delineation of what is doable based on existing regional resources and capacities. It focuses on promoting efficient and equitable climate risk management, with specific initiatives looking at understanding the hazards, reducing vulnerability, managing exposure and reducing risks with due focus on gender inequalities and social exclusion.

Progress made in the roadmap will be reviewed at the next Asian Ministerial Conference, to be held in Indonesia in 2012.

The conference’s final declaration urges governments to use the five remaining years of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action – a global action plan to build the resilience of nations and communities by 2015 – to accelerate their commitments, resourcing and efforts to reduce human and economic disaster losses.

The declaration also calls on regional governments to promote disaster risk reduction as an integral component of adaptation efforts at regional and international fora leading up to the next meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010. The declaration also urges governments and the international donor community to invest more in disaster risk reduction and to increase their funding support for regional and national activities for DRR to at least 10 percent of humanitarian assistance and two percent of development assistance for DRR by 2015. It also encourages cities and local governments to sign up to the global campaign “Making Cities Resilient -- My city is getting ready!” and to carry out risk assessments, innovations in building resilience at neighbourhood level including schools and hospitals and enforce regulations that incorporate DRR and CCA considerations.

For more information on the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the final declaration and road map please visit: http://www.amcdrrkorea.org.
The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015 The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in 2015.
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