At today's session on the Sendai Framework, (left to right) Chair, Ambassador Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Thailand, Ms. Setsuko Saya, Director, Japan Cabinet Office, and Dr. Prashanthi Gunewardene, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.
By Denis McClean
NEW DELHI, 4 November 2016 - Full scale monitoring of the world’s global plan for reducing disaster losses will get underway in 2020, it was announced today at the Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR2016).
Best estimates indicate that just half of 193 UN Member States have half of the data required to start effectively measuring and monitoring their progress in meeting the seven global targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Mr. Andrew Maskrey, Chief of UNISDR’s Risk Knowledge Section, said a lot of work remains to be done in terms of collecting damage and loss data if full scale monitoring is to get underway in 2020, and each country is due to complete a readiness review in time for the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction which takes place next May in Mexico.
Mr. Maskrey provided a preview of the indicators which are being considered now by the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology Relating to Disaster Risk Reduction (OIEWG) which holds its final session 14-18 November in Geneva.
At that session the OIEWG is expected to adopt sets of globally comparable and objective indicators for measuring progress on each of the seven targets and these will be put forward for adoption by the UN General Assembly early in 2017.
In addition, the Sendai Framework calls for each country to adopt its own set of nationally appropriate indicators to be embedded in their national disaster risk management frameworks and plans. Indicators have been proposed for the four key targets (a), (b), (c), and (d) which respectively seek substantial reductions in disaster mortality, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure in the period 2020 to 2030 by comparison with 2005 to 2015.
Indicators are under discussion for measuring target (f) which seeks to “substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the present Framework by 2030.
”National self-assessment will the main method for measuring progress on target (e), increasing the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020; and target (g), increased access to multi-hazard early warning systems.
Chairing the session on “Review and Monitoring of Implementation of the Sendai Framework,” Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi, Thailand, said there will have to be an intensification of efforts to collect data and the readiness review will give a good idea of what gaps need to be filled before full scale monitoring gets underway.
Dr. Kamal Kishore, Board member, India’s National Disaster Management Authority, said that based on an examination of disaster data in four Indian States there were three challenges: absence of data for a large number of indicators, inconsistent data, and, while disaggregated data is available at village level, it was often aggregated at State level “which hides underlying trends so management needs to be improved.” The problem of dispersed data across agencies and sectors also needs to be tackled.
He highlighted the challenge which extreme events such as the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and the 1999 Odisha cyclone posed for measuring true progress in reducing disaster mortality as it can have a distorting effect on overall mortality trends depending on the periods being measured and compared.
Mr. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for social and cultural affairs, said the region had years of experience of dealing with disasters including the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004, Cyclone Nargis, 2008, and Typhoon Haiyan, 2013. There are two critical factors in achieving the Sendai Framework targets: political will and reducing disaster risk.
He said it was also key that the national authorities engage with people and stakeholders at the local level. ASEAN is the only region in the world that has a legally binding agreement in place concerning disaster management and response, ADMER 2016-2020, he said.
Ms. Setsuko Saya, Director, Japan Cabinet Office, said a lot had been learned from the feasibility study on indicators which Japan had conducted earlier this year with 17 other countries. She hoped that the indicators finally adopted would be both practical and flexible and highlighted challenges with reaching clear technical definitions of indicators for measuring progress on reducing numbers of affected people and damage to critical infrastructure.
She concluded that it was difficult to measure the impact of policies by just looking at data, The purpose of collecting data is to improve policies and future actions.
Dr. Prashanthi Gunewardene, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, said there was a need to look at the losses caused not just by earthquakes and other natural hazards but also man-made and environmental disasters.
It was necessary to take into account damage to eco-systems caused by industrial processes such as oil spills, highway construction, the overuse of pesticides, and greenhouse gas emissions from cement manufacturers when measuring damage to critical infrastructure under Sendai Framework target (d). The potential for future disasters needs to be a factor when evaluating development projects, she said..
Dr. Manu Gupta, of the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, said it was important to focus on ensuring that people get involved in the whole process of risk assessments and making those assessments useful to them. He cited the role of education and information in a 50% reduction in burns to children from fireworks during this week’s Diwali festival in New Delhi as an example of how action on a risk assessment can lead to concrete results.
Dr. Gupta observed that it was one thing to ensure that there is a substantial increase in national and local disaster risk strategies by 2020 but he had a concern that the finance and resources to implement those strategies need to be provided to make them a reality.