Calls for “coalition of action” to address link between natural hazards and nuclear safety at Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction ending today
Geneva – In a year marred by disaster losses over US$300 billion, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called, at the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, for a “coalition of action” and a high-level meeting during the next General Assembly to address the link between natural hazards and nuclear safety.
The call came in a four-page Chair’s Summary produced at the end of the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, only a few months after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March triggered a worldwide nuclear scare.
Against the backdrop of more floods in southern United States and an earthquake in Spain, delegates also called for governments to account for disaster losses in a consistent and standardized manner, and look for clear evidence of the costs and benefits of investments in risk reduction through verifiable and accountable data.
“Participants at the Third Global Platform have recognized the urgency that we face, and realized clearly that the world needed to act quickly and in concrete ways to make the world safer. This helped produce a strong outcome, which I hope will stop the world from behaving recklessly and instead ensure that our development will prevent losses and protect gains and people,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, who presented the Chair’s Summary to delegates on behalf of the conference Chair, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, on the final day.
The Third Global Platform was also the site of the world’s first-ever World Reconstruction Conference, convened by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), where participants pledged to develop a recovery and reconstruction framework that would: better define roles and responsibilities within clear institutional arrangements; effectively capitalize on the strengths of each stakeholder; clearly place countries in the driver’s seat on decision-making and resource allocation; provide in-time relevant knowledge and lessons learned through existing networks of practitioners; and assist in establishing robust and transparent quality and result monitoring systems; and improve systems and instruments for recovery and reconstruction finance.
“This week's World Reconstruction Conference has been a true testament to working together,” said Zoubida Allaoua, Director of the Finance, Economics, and Urban Development Department, the World Bank. “We are very encouraged that international agencies and disaster prone countries represented by this conference agreed on critical next steps needed to improve support to countries overwhelmed by the scale or cost of reconstruction after disasters.”
“This begins with an agreement to develop a global framework for international cooperation in reconstruction financing and technical assistance, and a commitment to develop and improve the channels through which this financing flows,” she added. “On this, GFDRR and the World Bank commit to take this forward as a global leader in the field and as a committed partner of countries weighed down by the growing threat of disasters.”
The Chair’s Summary called for ways to support to local communities to ensure they are more resilient to disasters, which are at the frontline of disasters. The text called for clear guidance and criteria for improving the effectiveness of National Platforms, the country-level equivalent of the Global Platform and main vehicle for identifying disaster risk reduction actions for nations, so that responsibility for reducing disaster risk with backing from political authorities.
On the international scale, the text states that Japan – one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and a consistent supporter of an international disaster risk reduction action plan – has offered to host the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015.
“The next United Nations climate change summit in Seoul, Korea, and the upcoming United Nations summit on sustainable development will be critical to maintain the momentum generated at the Global Platform,” added Ms. Wahlström, and echoed in the Chair’s Summary. “Disaster risk reduction is essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by protecting development investments.”
The world’s guiding instrument for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities, had yielded significant progress and that its principles had been firmly established and endorsed over the past five years. A first outline for a post-2015 disaster risk reduction instrument to succeed the current Hyogo Framework for Action would be produced through a consultative process managed by United Nations secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), for review in 2013 and finalization in 2014.
Around 3,000 delegates attended the Global Platform this year, including representatives of national and local Governments, international agencies and institutions, regional bodies, civil society, the private sector and the scientific and academic communities to share their experiences and expertise, express commitment, and set priorities to reduce disaster risk and build the resilience of communities and nations.