India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, spoke at the closing of the 1st Asian Science and Technology Conference yesterday.
By Andy McElroy
BANGKOK, 25 August 2016 – Scientists have agreed eight priorities to harness the power of research and technology to boost implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Asia.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs, India, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, hailed the Outcome Document of the 1st Asian Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction as a clear demonstration of how the science community can contribute to implementation of the Sendai Framework, the global plan to reduce disaster losses adopted by UN member States.
In closing the conference yesterday, Minister Rijiju, who is also a UNISDR Disaster Risk Reduction Champion, said the Outcome Document translated the global Science and Technology Roadmap to Support the Implementation of the Sendai Framework into concrete actions for Asia, the world’s most hazard-exposed and disaster-prone region.
“Scientists and researchers have brought a deeper understanding of the hazards, vulnerabilities, disaster risks and their linkages to the development processes,” the Minister said, challenging the research community to formulate applicable methodologies and tools that respond to real-world challenges.
“The Sendai Framework calls for a shift from managing disasters to managing risks. This requires a more holistic approach to risks and a stronger focus on addressing the ongoing creation of new risk. We have to address disaster risks in our development practices to not only protect our development gains but also to prevent escalation of future risks.
“The quality of infrastructure we develop today will determine the level of risk tomorrow. In order to prevent new risks from being created we need to act now with solid foundation for science, technology and innovation.”
The conference’s recommendations include the need: for better national accounting of disaster loss and damage; for more engagement of the private sector and academic networks; and to nurture a younger generation of researchers with significantly more women.
Minister Rijiju said the Outcome Document opened up three main areas of opportunity: first, strengthening the connection between the science community and policy makers; second, ensuring that advances in science and technology in disaster risk reduction support local actions; and third, strengthening a people-centred approach that taps into traditional knowledge to complement innovation.
The outcomes will be presented at the upcoming Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be hosted by the Government of India, in New Delhi, 02-05 November. The role of science for DRR is a headline theme of this regional meeting.
Earlier, at the opening of the conference, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, challenged scientists and researchers to provide "solutions and guidance" in the wake of the ‘frightening development’ of successive record-breaking hot months because of climate change.
The Sendai Framework is the world’s most ambitious plan to date with a series of seven targets to substantially reduce disaster losses and strengthen resilience. It was adopted last year by the governments of the world to achieve a substantial reduction in disaster losses and risk.
The 1st Asian Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction was organized by Thailand’s Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII) with the support of UNISDR and its Asian Science Technology and Academia Advisory Group (ASTAAG), the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme, and Future Earth. More than 300 experts in various aspects of DRR participated.