(left to right) Representing Major Groups at today"s Preparatory Committee meetings for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Sandra Wu, Private Sector, and Evelyn Nguleka, Farmers. (Photo: UNISDR)
GENEVA, 14 July 2014
- The private sector and farmers took the stage today at preparatory talks on a new global framework for disaster risk reduction which are open to major groups from civil society as well as governments.
They were speaking at the First Session of the Preparatory Committee of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which takes place today and tomorrow at UN Headquarters in Geneva.
Sandra Wu, chairperson and CEO of Kokusai Kogyo Co, Ltd, speaking on behalf of the private sector group, said: “the private sector approaches this process for post-2015 with a sense of urgency. We are here because we are not happy with the status quo. Unless we take this opportunity to set risk management standards, our current economic projections can be thrown off by mid-century.”
Long active with the UNISDR Private Sector Advisory Group, she urged governments to establish tax incentives and investment drivers that promote clear, well-defined standards in disaster risk management.
“Metrics incentivize businesses as well as public authorities to demonstrate risk-aware decision-making and behavior, and to report them in a transparent manner, so that consumers, business partners, investors as well as governments may objectively judge the level of resilience,” she said.
The private sector is also seeking incentives for business continuity management which must cover the supply chain and involve the community, and pay attention to micro, small and medium enterprises. “Risk information and data, shared and utilized, is an important element towards this aim.”
Urging public-private partnerships to build resilience, Ms. Wu said: “it is our sincere hope that the post-2015 framework will galvanize the rich and poor, developing and developed countries, to work together, and build trust between the public and private sector.”
Evelyn Nguleka, speaking on behalf of the World Farmers’ Organization, said there is a need to acknowledge the role of agri-coop and farmers’ organizations to contribute to recovery from disasters.
“The agriculture sector plays a large role in supplying food in disaster situations as well as in reducing food insecurity. Any factors that inhibit the growing, processing and distribution of food are highly likely to negatively impact food security with potentially disastrous results for local populations,” she said.
She cited the case of Japan when the 2011 earthquake occurred. “Farmers cooperatives made effort in supplying goods such as foods, commodities, fuel, and played a role in recovery activities in local communities. Based on this experience, increasing number of Cooperatives conclude agreements with local governments for the purpose of mutual support in times of disasters.”
Ms. Nguleka said: it was important to realize that the reduction of risk has so many facets that one size does not fit all. “The priorities and targets to be negotiated should fit within the post-2015 development framework so that disaster risk reduction is not side-lined by the Sustainable Development Goals. A robust monitoring regime will be able to assess progress in meeting the indicators and may be able to achieve synergies with data gathering needs that are part of other psot-2015 frameworks.”