SRSG Wahlström and H.E. Minister Rijiju discuss the DRR Champion's future role as a leader in the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Asia (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
NEW DELHI, 18 November 2015 - A senior Minister of the Government of India has been recognized as a Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction in honour of his relentless work, passion and commitment to the cause.
The Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju received the award for a series of policy decisions to strengthen disaster risk governance and partnerships in education, disaster preparedness and response in his country.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Margareta Wahlström, presented the award and said the Minister's leadership “will be a great support to the effective implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction”.
"The institutional capacity and shift needed to put disaster risk reduction at the core of sustainable development requires political leaders to champion the culture of risk reduction at all levels and across all sectors," Ms Wahlström said.
"UNISDR recognizes such individuals as disaster risk reduction champions for their outstanding commitment and achievement. It is my great pleasure to announce His Excellency Kiren Rijiju as a Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction."
In accepting the award, Minister Rijiju committed to work towards converging individual efforts of member states into “a larger inclusive and collaborative mechanism for recovery, rehabilitation and rebuilding of affected communities and assets”.
"The Sendai Framework brings important new dimensions ... the scope of disaster risk reduction has also been broadened significantly to cover both natural and man-made hazards and related environmental, technological and biological hazards," he said.
"A rare opportunity now exists for countries, organizations and stakeholders in Asia to translate these new dimensions into policies and actions to achieve our vision of risk-sensitive development for resilience and sustainability."
Ms Wahlström said the role of champion came with a big responsibility. She urged Minister Rijiju to maintain his impressive advocacy record, particularly in terms of: guiding an inclusive process for the proposed Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework; ensuring a successful Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2016; strengthening engagement with regional organisations such as SAARC and ASEAN as well as the private sector; and prioritizing local capacity building.
Minister Rijiju received the award at the Asian Leaders' Meeting Towards Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the start of the 2nd ISDR Asia Partnership forum of 2015.
More than 100 disaster risk reduction policymakers and practitioners from various sectors are meeting to discuss the proposed Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, with the aim of it being adopted at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in November 2016, in New Delhi.
The Sendai Framework, a 15-year global agreement adopted in March at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, aims to bring about substantial reductions in disaster mortality, the number of people affected, and economic losses.