By Biljana Markova
BRUSSELS, 5 June 2014 - The European Commission has adopted a Communication on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), making strong reference to building resilience to disasters and pointing out the need to respond to new challenges that were not sufficiently covered by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as disaster resilience and risk management.
The document titled “A Decent Life for All: From Vision to Collective Action” features disaster risk reduction (DRR) as a cross-cutting issue for sustainable development within the suggested targets and priority areas because they can have a “major impact on the economy as well as on well-being and on the security of citizens, and need to be addressed in the framework in a way that does not replicate or interfere with respective international processes and agreements.”
Furthermore, it states the need to mobilize the necessary financial resources “coherent with the post-2015 international framework for disaster risk reduction (post Hyogo Framework for Action).”
Paola Albrito, Head of the UNISDR Regional Office for Europe, welcomed the Communication and said: “This emphasizes the importance of ensuring alignment between the major global policy initiatives which will be decided on next year including a new framework for disaster risk reduction, the SDGs and a new agreement on climate change. Disaster risk management is key to success in tackling other drivers of risk including poverty reduction, proper urban planning and land use.”
Overall, the Communication recommends an enabling policy environment, mobilizing necessary financial resources, and monitoring progress and accountability. It proposes clustering certain priorities and mainstreaming others, such as sustainable cities, throughout the framework.
Finally, the Communication stresses the European Union's commitment to a strengthened global partnership, including its role as a one of “the driving forces behind mobilizing action internally and worldwide.”
Following discussion of the Communication by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, the Communication will contribute to the EU position at the UN General Assembly's Open Working Group on SDGs.