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Missing Political Action Could Worsen Disaster Losses

Key messages from the seventh session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction which officially opened on Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia continue to echo the need for increased political will and financial injection so as to put back on track the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Sendai Framework was approved at the Third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in 2015 to accelerate building of resilience among nations and communities, but its implementation is facing numerous challenges, among them lack of political will and financing.

Speaking at the GPDRR's official opening ceremony, Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged member countries to increase investments in all critical areas in order to slow the rise of risks. He gave an example of his country, which in 2022 alone registered 1,613 disasters and an average of 500 small or large scale earthquakes every month. 121 volcanic eruptions were also recorded between 2015 and 2021. Widodo said that COVID-19 is another threat to the world today. He urged the delegates to find ways to build a strong recovery mechanism that would also stop new risks from happening.

Widodo - The more unprepared, the bigger the loss

In his speech, he also talked about the need to strengthen a culture that prepares for disasters and institutions that are prepared for, responsive to, and able to adapt to disasters. According to the Indonesian president, investment in science, technology, and innovation as well as resilient infrastructure should also be given prime attention.

To put the Sendai Framework back on track, Widodo said countries must begin to translate global commitments into action at the national and local levels. "The Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals, are all key international agreements aimed at reducing disaster risk and climate change," he said.

When she took the podium, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed urged the audience to improve risk governance across the board. She said it remains worrisome that risk creation continues to outpace risk reduction. "We do not yet have the governance frameworks in place to manage risks, whether from a global pandemic or a tsunami, and to mitigate their impact’’ said Mohammed.

Mohammed - We have another chance to accelerate progress

The Sendai Framework also seeks to scale up early warning systems as a way of reducing damage to critical infrastructure and number of people affected by the disasters. Mohammed told the conference that in line with this goal, the UN Secretary-General has asked the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO) to present an action plan at the next UN Climate Conference, in Egypt in November, aimed at ensuring that every person on earth is covered by early warning systems within five years.

She added : "We also need to factor disaster risk reduction into our financial frameworks." Alternative measurements, beyond Gross Domestic Product, should take account of disaster risk and resilience. The Multidimensional Vulnerability Index is one such metric.''

The director of Sustainable Development and Blue Economy for the African Union expressed satisfaction that the majority of issues raised during the opening session align with the Africa Common Position at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, and he remained optimistic that the outcomes will have an "African touch."

Together we must blow the trumpet

Over five thousand delegates have registered for the event, which is running under the theme "from risk to resilience".

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Opening Ceremony - 7th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
27 May 2022

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About the Author
Mathews Malata Jr.
An ardent environmentalist, LEAD Fellow & versatile award-winning journalist passionate about SDGs

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