Host Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Turkey, listens as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the audience at the special event held during the UN General Assembly (Photo: UNISDR)
By Jonathan Fowler
NEW YORK, 30 September 2015 – The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is a key element in global efforts to stem the rise in humanitarian crises and shape a new global development and climate change agenda over the next 15 years, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here today.
Speaking at a high-level event organized by Turkey – the host of next May’s landmark World Humanitarian Summit – on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Secretary-General underlined that curbing risk and reducing the impact of natural and man-made hazards went hand in hand with crisis aid, development and moves to stem climate change.
“Just last Friday, world leaders made a historic commitment to shared prosperity, peace and partnership on a healthy planet,” he said, referring to the Sustainable Development Goals, a 17-point plan to eradicate extreme poverty, promote prosperity and well-being, and protect the environment, by 2030.
“They promised to leave no one behind. But we cannot achieve a world of safety and dignity for all without addressing the plight of millions of women, children and men affected by humanitarian crises. This is why I am convening the World Humanitarian Summit next year. The Summit is a vital opportunity to reinforce our common endeavour to save lives, and prevent and alleviate suffering,” he said.
“It will build on the progress achieved on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, on development financing in Addis Ababa, on sustainable development here in New York, and on the agreement on climate change that Member States are striving to adopt in Paris in December,” he added.
Six of the Sustainable Development Goals relate directly to disaster risk reduction, underlining the need to reduce exposure and vulnerability of the poor to disasters as essential for sustainable poverty eradication, and flagging the importance of resilient infrastructure, improved urban planning, and climate adaption and ecosystem protection.
They align with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year roadmap adopted by the international community in March this year at the Third World Conference of Disaster Risk Reduction in the Japanese city of Sendai. The Sendai Framework seeks a substantial reduction in mortality, in the numbers of people affected by disasters, in economic losses and in damage to critical infrastructure.
After Sendai, July saw the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, while the year will be capped by the UN’s COP21 climate conference in Paris.
“As populations rise, along with extreme poverty, growing inequality and rapid unplanned urbanization, natural hazards are a growing risk. Climate change is also causing increasing humanitarian stress. It threatens to cause massive internal displacement and cross-border movement in the coming decades. The absolute number of people at risk continues to grow. We must reverse this trend,” said the Secretary-General.
“Let us never forget that behind each statistic is a human life: a woman, a man, a child, with aspirations and human rights,” he said.
“To restore dignity, humanitarian action must always put people at its heart and empower people affected by crises to help themselves. To protect people in crises, we must put their safety first. To build resilience, we must invest in preparedness. We must manage risk, reduce vulnerability and ensure that preparedness is part of development policy and design from the outset,” he added.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose country is hosting some two million refugees from Syria, pointed to the hybrid nature of the challenges faced by today’s world, as natural and man-made threats, including conflict, mesh together.
“Difficult times require courageous ideas and decisions,” he said.
“Let us work together on concrete modalities aiming at how best to make use of combined humanitarian assistance with development tools, where appropriate, to support resilience in the face of crises of a recurrent or protracted nature. Such crises, be they natural or man-made, inflict destructive impacts on the countries in question,” he added.