BRICS Ministers met in Udaipur, Rajasthan, over two days to agree collaboration on reducing disaster losses
By Andy McElroy
BANGKOK, 23 August 2016 – The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction today received a major boost from the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – which have agreed to set up a joint task force on disaster risk management.
India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs and UNISDR Champion, Mr. Kiren Rijiju is the driving force behind the Udaipur Declaration issued today, which he said would be “a positive influence on the global agenda for strengthening efforts on DRR and resilience”.
Recalling their commitments towards implementation of the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Development Agenda, Ministers from the five countries which represent 40% of the world’s population, recognised “with concern the growing level of disaster losses in our nations as well as increasing exposure of our people, economies, infrastructure and other social and cultural assets to various natural hazards.”
Meeting in Udaipur, Rajasthan, the BRICS issued an eight-point declaration today focussed on reducing disaster losses through the integration of disaster risk management measures into sustainable development; exchanges on best practice; investment in disaster risk management; improved forecasting and early warnings for extreme weather events; and strengthening disaster risk governance.
The Joint Task Force on Disaster Risk Management was established for regular dialogue, exchange, mutual support and collaboration among the BRICS countries.
Mr. Rijiju told the 2nd Meeting of the BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management, in Udaipur, that India was willing “to stand shoulder to shoulder” with the other BRICS nations and explore all possible areas of collaboration. He said that disaster risk management was a high priority area for Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who is due to open the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in New Delhi, in November.
“It is time to move away from a static understanding of risk. Tomorrow’s risk is being built today. If we are able to visualize future risk that results from our decisions taken today then we will be able to work to ensure that every bridge, every road, every telecom tower, every school, every hospital that we build is disaster resilient,” Mr. Rijiju said.
“We also need to have a much stronger urban focus … and move towards an all-of-society approach to disaster risk management. While governments have to pay a central role, they cannot do it by themselves. They have to take everybody along.
“Finally, we need to look at disaster risk management issue as a development governance issue. Good governance is the cornerstone of good disaster risk management.”
Joining Mr. Rijiju at the forum were Mr. Des Van Royeen, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, South Africa; Mr. Pang Chenmin, Executive Deputy Director of Office of National Committee for Disaster Reduction, China; Mr. Oleg Manuilo, Director, Department of Civil Defence and Population Protection, Russia; and Mr. Wesley De Almeida Felinto, National Secretary for Civil Defense, Brazil.
The Udaipur Declaration follows up on the BRICS Disaster Management Roadmap agreed at the first such meeting of BRICS Ministers in St Petersburg, Russia, April 2016. It is also in accordance with the broader cooperation framework between the BRICS – the Ufa Declaration, which was adopted at the seventh BRICS Summit in July 2015.
More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives in the BRICS countries. Their combined GDP is USD16.5 trillion, about 22 percent of the global total.
UNISDR recognized Minister Rijiju as a Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction in November 2015 in honour of his work and commitment that have led to a series of policy decisions to strengthen disaster risk governance and partnerships in education, disaster preparedness and response in India. On being named DRR champion, the Minister 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”.