Sweden serious about Sendai

UNISDR head, Robert Glasser (right) in discussion with presenters at the April UNISDR Support Group Meeting, (from left) Benny Jansson, MSB-Sweden, Steve Darvill, Australian Government, and Petronella Norell, MSB-Sweden (Photo: UNISDR)
 
By Denis McClean

GENEVA, 26 April, 2016 - Sweden is one of the world’s least disaster-exposed countries and over the last twenty years has had one of the lowest casualty rates anywhere in the world for events linked to natural hazards e.g. there were no reported disaster events in 2015 according to the 2016 World Disasters Report.

Nonetheless, following the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has started to reconstitute the country’s ten-year-old National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, to bring it more in line with the priorities for action of the Sendai Framework.

The restructured Swedish National Platform will use the process for the National Risk and Capability Assessment as a way of pinpointing areas in need for further efforts. This will allow many types of hazards and risks to be taken into consideration and a needs-based approach for the work undertaken.

In advance of next month’s Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico, Mr. Benny Jansson , Programme Manager and Senior Analyst, with MSB’s Resilience Development and Analysis Department, told the April meeting of the UNISDR Support Group that Sweden had introduced a new risk categorization last year related to the Sendai Framework.

“Our main purpose is to identify and to analyse risks, vulnerabilities and society’s capability to prevent and respond to the risks and create a common understanding of serious risks in Sweden,” Mr. Jansson said.

His colleague, Strategic Advisor, Ms. Petronella Norell, explained that at the heart of this ongoing work has been the further development of existing forums for crisis preparedness on Economic Security, Geographic Responsibility, Technical Infrastructure, CBRNE, Protection, Rescue and Care and Transportation.

The coordination forums consist of governmental agencies with key responsibilities in the Swedish civil contingency system, representatives from the county administrative boards (regional level) and from the local level. There are also stakeholders from non-government sectors.

The stakeholders coordinate their planning by discussing and reaching a common understanding of relevant risks, threats and hazards, as well as the capabilities needed to face current challenges.

In Sweden’s view, many of the priorities and the proposed actions on national and local level in the Sendai framework, are best addressed in the forums.

The participating agencies have until now put most of their focus on measures to improve crisis preparedness. Sweden wants to enable a more inclusive approach to ”societal security” as a whole. In this, the Sendai Framework provides support to broaden the context and to put a stronger emphasis on risks and on preventive work.

More than 80 government agencies have described what Strategic Development Goal (SDG) their work has the most influence on and MSB has concluded that the Sendai Framework will play an important role in realising the SDGs and vice-versa.

This is part of an overall focus on scenario analysis, table top exercises with the concerned actors, and moving from crisis preparedness to societal security. Ms. Norell, said that collecting and sharing disaster loss data was a key challenge for Sweden and suggested that it would be helpful if UNISDR and the European Commission could develop guidance to improve coherence of the data.

A key objective for MSB’s International work is to support “increased resilience through strengthened capacity of communities with regards to prevention, preparedness and response to crises and disasters.”

It provides critical support to increased societal resilience through capacity development projects for governmental institutions and civil society organizations.

MSB supports disaster risk assessment and mapping (DRAM) in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo (under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99), Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.
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