Ministers and delegates at the closing ceremony for the 2018 Sub-Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction for Central Asian and South Caucasus
By Rosalind Cook
YEREVAN, 29 June 2018 – Delegates at the 2018 Sub-Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction for Central Asian and South Caucasus have adopted the Yerevan Declaration calling for increased regional cooperation.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Minister Rostomyan of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Armenia welcomed the declaration saying, “The platform has given us all positive workloads. I urge everyone to achieve new results in the implementation of the Sendai [Framework], in order to enhance the welfare and resilience of our countries and, of course, strengthen ties between [us].”
Paola Albrito, Chief of the Regional Office for Europe for UNISDR, paid tribute to the warm hospitality of Armenia in hosting the event and underlined the importance of taking the commitments forward to achieve a culture of resilience.
The platform was attended by more than 200 high-ranking officials from Central Asia and the South Caucasus, mayors, major private companies, international humanitarian organizations and civil society representatives as well as delegates from around the world including Mexico, Japan, Italy and Switzerland.
Across the two-day event, participants showcased the significant progress made since the last gathering in 2016 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. All countries have starting reporting under the monitoring system for meeting the Sendai Framework targets – the global plan for reducing disaster losses. They have also all progressed towards including disasters risk reduction into their emergency management plans or as dedicated strategies, marking an important achievement.
Sessions also highlighted the challenges. Many pointed to increasingly high economic damages from disasters with risks to critical infrastructure. This is being compounded by urbanization and more extreme weather, driven by climate change, which has become the new normal.
Setting the next priorities, the Yerevan Declaration identifies strong commitments to intensify action. It calls for making disaster risk assessments a prerequisite for land use, urban planning, infrastructure and housing investments. National Platforms on disaster risk reduction through the inclusion of stakeholders including women, people with disabilities, children and youth are also highlighted as a key commitment.
Delegates reaffirmed their determination to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015- 2030, with a focus in reaching the Target (e) – the development of national and local strategies on disaster risk reduction – by 2020.
As the next steps, host country Armenia is invited to present the Yerevan Declaration to the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in November in Rome, Italy and the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2019, Geneva, Switzerland.