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Blog: A 1st birthday for resilience and disaster risk reduction worth celebrating

Met dank overgenomen van K. (Kristalina) Georgieva, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 18 maart 2016.

A year has flown by since the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted - and what a year it was for breakthrough agreements, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris deal on climate change. With luck by 2030 we will look back and reflect on how important 2015 was to making our planet more resilient and more sustainable in the face of the multiple and complex challenges it faces.

A year has flown by since the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted - and what a year it was for breakthrough agreements, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris deal on climate change. With luck by 2030 we will look back and reflect on how important 2015 was to making our planet more resilient and more sustainable in the face of the multiple and complex challenges it faces.

But for 125 million people - equivalent in population to the world’s eleventh largest country - fifteen years is too long to wait. This is the number of people in urgent need of life-saving assistance right now - and if we cannot solve the problem of securing adequate and reliable funds to help them we will not achieve the SDGs.

The Sendai Framework reaffirmed the importance of risk management and resilience building. Implementing it will have direct benefits for reducing humanitarian needs. Because 20 per cent of humanitarian financing requirements go to responding to recurring and sudden-onset natural disasters, preparedness, prevention and disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a vital investment for countries at risk. It means they can attain the capacity to withstand disaster shocks should the worst happen.

I have the privilege of co-chairing a High-Level Panel for the United Nations Secretary-General, who tasked us with finding solutions to the growing humanitarian funding gap. As we said in our report “Too important to fail - addressing the humanitarian financing gap”, investment in risk reduction and preparedness is far too low. For every US$ 100 spent on development aid projects, just 40 cents has gone into protecting countries from succumbing to natural disasters. The statistics for countries with least capacity demonstrate the wasted opportunities: 12 out of a group of 23 low-income countries received less than US$ 10 million for DRR over 20 years while receiving US$ 5.6 billion in disaster response.

Nobody is immune from disasters. There is a global responsibility to invest more in DRR and to manage risks before they become crises. Over time this will reduce the cost of disasters both in terms of human suffering and in responding to them.

Humanitarian financing requirements would substantially shrink if more governments in disaster-prone countries took the responsibility to put in place sustainable budget structures to fund risk reduction and preparedness activities, and frameworks to enable and build the capacity of national responders.

But they cannot do this alone. International investment for risk management and resilience-building must meet the challenge. The most fragile states are often the poorest. By assisting them financially and by supporting them to build adequate fiscal space, we are making a comparatively cheap medium-term investment to reduce the much more expensive long-term and recurring costs of humanitarian response.

Successful initiatives in risk-pooling and financing should be replicated and scaled up. Developing early-warning systems, building disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure, and risk-informed planning are all needed. Because financial preparedness promotes swifter responses, which in turn protects lives and livelihoods.

Technological advances have eased the task of accurately predicting the occurrence and potential impact of future natural disasters. Recognising climate change as one of the root causes of natural disasters gives an opportunity to link climate change financing with disaster risk-reduction efforts. The impact of climate change falls disproportionately on the poorest and most fragile countries, already weakened by poverty, population growth, environmental degradation, population movement, urbanisation and conflicts.

The task to disaster-proof ourselves is huge but not insurmountable. Sendai , the SDGs and the Paris Climate Change agreement - all in one year - are a sign that the multilateral system can deliver global solutions to global problems.


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