The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlstrom, speaking today at the closing of the Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
BANGKOK, 26 June 2014
– Ministers, top government officials and more than 3,000 delegates from Asia Pacific today recognized the achievements of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) as a springboard to implement a more comprehensive Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction said a stronger focus on local level resilience, scaled up resilient public investments, and a bigger role for public-private partnerships are fundamental to build on a decade of achievement as preparations for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, gather pace.
The Conference adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia Pacific 2014 which highlighted the importance of an implementation plan and a strengthened monitoring and review system for the so-called HFA2.
“On the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: develop an ‘Asia-Pacific regional HFA2 implementation plan’ in full consultation and agreement of countries; contribute to an enhanced monitoring and review mechanism to measure progress in implementing the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the commitments made at the Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction; promote higher education, training and research for professional development in disaster risk reduction,” the Declaration said.
The Declaration recognized a decade of progress under the HFA: “(It) has developed policies and institutions for disaster risk reduction; increased the understanding of risk; strengthened early warning systems; enhanced public awareness and disaster risk reduction education.”
It acknowledged that “more work needs to be done” to address gaps and challenges in implementation of the HFA but focused on seizing the upcoming opportunity at the World Conference, in Sendai.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, thanked the Kingdom of Thailand for hosting the Conference and welcomed the ‘Bangkok Declaration’ as a milestone on the road to Sendai.
“A consensus is emerging that reflects a real determination and sense of strong direction to Sendai and way beyond and this is the most important thing to come out of this Conference,” Ms Wahlström said.
“I am delighted to see the strong endorsement of the role that the HFA has played in guiding the implementation of disaster risk reduction work around the globe and the progress that has been made in building resilience over the past almost 10 years as a result.”
“It is appropriate that the Bangkok Declaration recognizes the central role of governments and appreciates the support that many different stakeholders have provided in the achievements under the HFA while recognizing there have been gaps, and challenges do remain.
“It is clear that Asia Pacific – as always – is leading the way in forging a more ambitious future vision for disaster risk reduction efforts. The Declaration’s recommendations on the importance of local resilience, disaster risk-sensitive public investments, more vibrant public-private partnership, and the vital role of science in providing important and understandable risk information to communities are very encouraging.”
The Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction closed today after one day of preparatory meetings and three days of formal high level political discussions and several thematic and technical sessions.