Asia and the Pacific gears up for the Global Platform and beyond

By Omar Amach

GENEVA, 14 May 2019 - The Asia-Pacific region is making progress in reducing disaster mortality, but high economic losses from disasters point to a need for governments to accelerate the implementation of the disaster risk reduction strategies they have developed.

This was the state of progress the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) provided on the implementation of the Sendai Framework in the Asia-Pacific region during a Regional Consultation session organized ahead of the 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Due to climate change, urbanization and increasing inequality, the region is seeing an increase in disaster risk from both high-impact disasters such as cyclones, and low impact disasters such as local floods.  In particular, weather related local level disasters are driving up economic losses from disasters. As a result, 40 per cent of global economic losses from disasters will be in Asia and the Pacific. Complicating matters further is the fact that only eight per cent of the region’s losses are insured.

“More emphasis is required on finding economic and financial solutions, which involves planning to better manage the cost of disasters and ultimately mitigate the long-term fiscal impacts of disasters,” said Ms Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of UNDRR Asia-Pacific.

The session was also an opportunity for the various regional stakeholders to provide input into the 2020 Asian Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR), which will be hosted by Australia.

“The conference will provide an opportunity to show the breadth of expertise that Australia has in disaster risk management, but more importantly to share the challenges we all face in building resilience and learning to learn from other countries in our region facing similar challenges,” said Mr Robert Cameron, Director-General of Emergency Management Australia, who presented an update on plans for the ministerial conference.

In response, participants and representatives of stakeholder groups took the floor to offer a range of topic suggestions for discussion at the conference, such as; coherence with climate change, demystifying DRR through strengthened communication, integrating human rights into DRR, and the development of mechanisms to ensure that voices of at-risk groups, such as persons with disability, older persons, and women, are integrated into DRR plans and programs.

The Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place 23 to 26 June 2020 in Brisbane, Australia, under the slogan of “inclusive and local,” and will focus on the themes of resilience, inclusiveness, and applied science.

The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018 The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 3-6 July 2018.
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