Floods in the United Kingdom (Photo: UK Government)
Geneva, 17 November 2017
- Public Health England (PHE) has demonstrated its commitment to reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters by publishing a national review of its progress on implementation of the key international agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters was the theme for this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13, the second year of the Sendai Seven Campaign which promotes the seven targets of the Sendai Framework that are designed to lead to a substantial reduction in disaster losses by 2030.
PHE is the first government department in the UK to publish such a review and it reflects the major emphasis placed on health-related issues in the Sendai Framework which was adopted two years ago by UN Member States.
Mr. Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, today extended his congratulations to Mr. Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive of PHE and its Global Disaster Risk Reduction team led by Prof. Virginia Murray, which completed the review.
Mr. Glasser said: “England has emerged as a role model for others to follow with this candid assessment of the achievements accomplished against the Sendai Framework’s four priorities and in identifying some of the challenges which lie ahead.
“The first deadline for the Sendai Framework is to have national and local disaster risk reduction strategies in place by 2020. Public Health England has made a great start on this through the establishment of both a Global Disaster Risk Reduction team which focuses on England’s role in developing international partnerships and policy and for example, an Extreme Events and Health Protection team which have lead on the development and implementation of England’s cold and hot weather plans recognising the impact of climate change.
“PHE’s work is not only focused on reducing mortality and the numbers of people affected by extreme weather but has also rightly identified the importance of reducing economic losses which can also have an adverse impact on people’s physical and psychological health through unemployment and other knock-on effects.”
This was also a theme highlighted at PHE’s 2017 Conference by Mr. Selbie, who focused on the importance of work as a health outcome and the relationship between income and outcome.
In reviewing the work undertaken by the organisation as part of its core business, the review also highlighted a wide range of activities which are already consistent with the Sendai Framework priorities and drew attention to a number of PHE projects which go beyond its core business and are also aligned with the Framework.
Throughout the 89 page report, a number of opportunities are identified which PHE recognise may need further work and the process of identifying progress within its work against the Sendai Framework will be an ongoing exercise. At a more strategic level, PHE will continue to focus on promoting world-class science and evidence by continuing to invest in science, research and innovation, and will further consolidate its position as a trusted, objective and authoritative source of evidence and knowledge.
Prof Virginia Murray commented “This review has been the outcome of several months’ work by our team that has collected inputs from across our organisation to better understand how we are meeting the actions identified under the Sendai Framework. Also we have used this process to continue our collaboration with other departments within UK Government at local and national levels and our partner organisations across the world and have found it a valuable tool to inform areas for further activity.”
The report’s authors conclude that the process of reviewing and detailing work done on an organizational basis may be used as a template for other departments within the UK government, as well as other countries to report their progress against implementing the Framework.