UNISDR Chief, Mr. Robert Glasser, and India's Minister of State for Home Affairs and UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Kiren Rijiju discuss preparations for the AMCDRR last month in New Delhi
By Andy McElroy
NEW DELHI, 2 November 2016 – The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR 2016) tomorrow before an expected attendance of 4,000 participants which will include local government officials from across India.
In a major speech, Prime Minister Modi will urge accelerated efforts to reduce disaster risk and disaster losses as outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which was adopted by all UN Member States in March, 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.
An impressive line-up of ministers and senior government officials from more than 40 countries will be present at the venue in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, for the first region-wide inter-governmental event on disaster risk reduction in Asia since the adoption of the Sendai Framework.
At the instigation of Prime Minster Modi, some 2,000 district-level officials have been invited to attend the Conference underlining the importance of plans and strategies for disaster risk management at community level. A key target of the Sendai Framework is to have a substantial increase in national and local plans for disaster risk reduction by 2020.
Earlier this year, the Prime Minister launched the country’s first National Disaster Management Plan which is based on the four priorities for action of the Sendai Framework. These priorites will be a key focus of the AMCDRR opening day’s technical sessions: understanding disaster risk; disaster risk governance; investing in disaster risk reduction; and disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
The conference is the first region-wide inter-governmental event on disaster risk reduction in Asia since the adoption of the Sendai Framework at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, will also address the opening session of the AMCDRR 2016 and convey a personal message to the participants from the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The AMCDRR is set to agree an Asia Regional Plan to implement the Sendai Framework, a New Delhi declaration that will strengthen political commitment in the region on DRR, as well as a series of action statements from various partners such as the private sector and civil society actors demonstrating and ‘all of society approach’ to building disaster resilience.
Prime Minister Modi has seized on the AMCDRR as a huge opportunity to raise disaster risk awareness in this large and diverse country. Local leaders with a responsibility for disaster risk management from all of India’s 687 districts have been invited to New Delhi to learn more from this international gathering of leaders and experts in disaster risk reduction.
The Conference will discuss a wide range of issues in six technical, 22 thematic and three featured sessions during the Conference which is themed “Risk Sensitive Development for Community Resilience”.
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has been collaborating with the Government of India in the organisation of the Conference and is coordinating the six technical sessions on the four priority areas of the Sendai Framework, and a further two on monitoring implementation of the Sendai Framework and enabling governance for coherence in Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change.
The Government of India will chair the three featured events: Risk Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Development; Application of Science and Technology for Prevention of New Risks; and Regional Cooperation.
Various activities will be organised during the Conference to raise awareness of disaster risk reduction and its role in safeguarding lives, livelihoods and infrastructure. These include a national-level painting competition for schoolchildren aged 10-14 years, a short film competition and an exhibition to showcase best practices in DRR.
India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju, who is also a UNISDR champion, will play a prominent role during the AMCDRR in line with his strong record of advocacy for disaster resilience.
On Saturday, the closing day, there will be the commemoration of the first World Tsunami Awareness Day, which will emphasise the importance of early warning systems and evacuations in reducing mortality from this rare but deadly hazad.
In the days before the AMCDRR, India organized three curtain raiser events at the School of Planning and Architecture, Indian Institute of Technology, and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi. The events focused on some of the priorities of the Sendai Framework and reached out to students, academics and professionals who may be able to integrate the concepts of DRR into their areas of expertise, such as financial planning, technology and architecture.