EU to play major role at Global Platform in Mexico

From left to right; At a recent UNISDR Support Group Meeting in Geneva, Kirsi Madi, UNISDR Director; Robert Glasser, UNISDR head; Prof. Pavel Danhelka, Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic; Thomas De Lannoy, Policy Officer, DG ECHO; Chair UNISDR Support Group, Amb Veronika Bard, Sweden; and Dr. Jan Danhelka, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (photo: UNISDR),
 
By Denis McClean

Geneva, 25 April, 2017 - The EU Delegation, led by DG ECHO Commissioner Christos Stylianides, is set to play a major role at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction next month in Cancun, Mexico.

The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Stylianides will deliver a statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States, and European Commission representatives will participate in the main sessions and side-events to present EU global efforts to reduce disaster risks.

The European Commission has developed a broad action plan to mainstream the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction into all areas of activity.

“In Cancun we need to strengthen political commitment to disaster risk reduction and to ensure that all stakeholders agree on practical methods to guide implementation. What is important to us is to look at practical ways of implementing Sendai,” said Mr. Thomas de Lannoy, Policy Officer for the European Commission, Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations ( DG ECHO).

Key departments within the European Commission meet regularly to look at the best ways of implementing the Sendai Framework and there is a particular focus on assisting countries worldwide in putting in place national and local disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies by the key deadline of 2020.

Speaking to the monthly meeting of the UNISDR Support Group in Geneva in March, Mr. de Lannoy said that the European Commission Action Plan is organized into four main areas. First, risk knowledge where the focus is on data, forward planning, research and development.

The second area of focus is on the whole-of-society approach advocated for in the Sendai Framework which for the European Commission includes practical actions on education, risk awareness, the role of the private sector and support to the integration of disaster risk reduction into education.

The third area of focus is on target (e) ensuring support for a substantial increase in national and local DRR strategies by 2020 while also promoting resilience as an integral part of all development projects and to examine also the role of insurance and risk transfer.

Mr. de Lannoy said the European Commission has adopted a “holistic approach to disaster risk management with a strong focus on building back better. It is also important to look at the role of NGOs and private sector and how they can be engaged in DRR capacity building projects. Health is also a strong element in this work.”

“Now that we have developed this Action Plan it is important for us to monitor what we are doing. We carry out regular reviews of this action plan and ask all departments to notify us of their progress and actions. We have regular discussions with EU Member States, civil society, academia and other stakeholders. There is a strong focus on coherence with other components of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda particularly the linkages between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.”

Mr. de Lannoy also stressed that the European Commission is very much focused on bringing together both the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation communities to support coherence between the two agendas. Importance is also being placed on introducing disaster preparedness for early humanitarian action, and into recovery processes through the European civil protection Mechanism.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted at the World Conference in Sendai, Japan The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted at the World Conference in Sendai, Japan.
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