Geneva, 12 May – Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Managing Director, yesterday called for a stronger framework to coordinate disaster activities with greater transparency, at a high-level policy panel on “responding to natural disasters: a long-ignored development challenge.”
The World Reconstruction Conference – organized by the World Bank, and which forms a major feature of the 2011 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction – is the first large-scale global conference focused on natural disaster recovery and reconstruction. The high-level discussion explored how knowledge from past disasters could be used to better ensure that communities received the aid and supported offered by the international community. The panel also touched on how to stimulate more investment to prevent future disasters.
Among other things, Ato Mitiku Kassa, State Minister for Disaster Management and Food Security Sector, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ethiopia, noted that disaster risk management lacked coordination, while Kristalina Georgieva, European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, acknowledged that agencies must be clear about who does what.
Marcus Oxley, Chairman, Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction, UK, noted that the level of emergency response had improved over the years, but later stressed the importance of encouraging more public participation in planning, greater accountability and transparency in the post-disaster planning process, and stronger institutional capacity at the local level to implement policies.
The high-level policy panel was followed by by a plenary discussion in the afternoon on “effective financial instruments to reduce risk,” moderated by Raghida Dergham, Al Hayat News Agency, where panellists discussed national, local and corporate spending, and the most effective instruments to ensure that investments reduce risk from natural hazards.
On country-level DRR efforts, Seri Mohamed Aziz, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia, discussed his country’s stormwater project to mitigate urban floods and real-time flood forecasting information exchange. Oscar Ortiz, Mayor of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, saw disaster as an opportunity to rebuild infrastructure and noted the importance of leadership and building local capacity. He also highlighted the role of education and collective memory.