Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Bulletin


Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in collaboration with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

 

Vol. 141 No. 1
Monday, 11 June 2007

THE FIRST SESSION OF THE GLOBAL PLATFORM FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION:

5-7 JUNE 2007

The first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (Global Platform) was held from 5-7 June 2007, at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève, in Geneva, Switzerland. Approximately 1200 participants attended the session, including representatives from over 120 governments, 64 UN specialized agencies and observer organizations, and 54 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The meeting represented the primary multistakeholder forum for all parties involved in disaster risk reduction and aimed to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share experience, and guide the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction system. The meeting was preceded by a day of preparatory meetings, also held in Geneva.

The first session of the Global Platform included: plenary interventions and a high-level dialogue on challenges and opportunities in disaster risk reduction; a series of session workshops on disaster risk reduction as a national priority and integrating disaster risk reduction into sector agendas; plenary sessions on assessment of the Hyogo Framework for Action (the Hyogo Framework) implementation and on the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) system action 2008-2009 to advance the Hyogo Framework implementation; and side events. Discussions at the Global Platform resulted in a draft Chair’s Summary that will be included in the ISDR report of the meeting and will feed into the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly on implementation of the ISDR.

This report consists of a summary of pre-session meetings, and a summary of the first session of the Global Platform proceedings.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF UN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION

In recent years, disaster risk reduction has grown in importance on the international agenda. Natural hazards, such as floods, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, as well as epidemics, have had an increasing impact on humans, due to population growth, urbanization, rising poverty and the onset of global environmental changes, including climate change, land degradation and deforestation. Practitioners and researchers widely acknowledge that poor planning, poverty and a range of other underlying factors create conditions of vulnerability that result in insufficient capacity or measures to reduce hazards’ potentially negative consequences. Thus, vulnerability contributes as much to the magnitude of the disaster risk as do the natural hazards themselves. Many experts consider that action to reduce risk is now essential to safeguard sustainable development efforts and for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR NATURAL DISASTER REDUCTION: An increase in human casualties and property damage in the 1980s motivated the UN General Assembly in 1989 to declare the 1990s the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) (resolution 44/236). The aim of the IDNDR was to address disaster prevention in the context of a range of hazards, including earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, grasshopper and locust infestations, and drought and desertification.

YOKOHAMA STRATEGY AND PLAN OF ACTION: One of the main outcomes of the IDNDR was the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World and its Plan of Action, adopted in 1994 at the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction held in Yokohama, Japan. The Yokohama Strategy set guidelines for action on prevention, preparedness and mitigation of disaster risk. These guidelines were based on a set of Principles that stress the importance of risk assessment, disaster prevention and preparedness, the capacity to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, and early warning. The Principles stemmed from the recognition that preventive measures are most effective when stakeholders at all levels are involved, and that vulnerability can be reduced by applying “proper design” and “patterns of development” focused on target groups. The Principles also stated that the international community should share technology to prevent, reduce and mitigate disasters, and demonstrate a strong political determination in the field of disaster reduction.

INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION: At its 54th session in 1999, the UN General Assembly decided to continue the activities on disaster prevention and vulnerability reduction carried out during the IDNDR. It thus established the ISDR, to be supported by the scientific and technical expertise and knowledge accumulated during the IDNDR. An Inter-Agency Secretariat and an Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) for the implementation of the ISDR were also established (resolutions 54/219 and 56/195 respectively). Among its mandated tasks, the IATF/DR was to convene ad hoc expert meetings on issues related to disaster reduction. In 2006, the IATF/DR was dissolved, and its tasks were transferred to the newly formed Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 58/214: In February 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 58/214, deciding to convene the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR). The resolution set out the objectives of the WCDR, which were to: conclude the review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action with a view to updating the guiding framework on disaster reduction for the twenty-first century; identify specific activities aimed at ensuring the implementation of relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, adopted in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development; share best practices and lessons learned for supporting and facilitating disaster reduction within the context of attaining sustainable development, and identify gaps and challenges; increase awareness of the importance of disaster reduction policies to facilitate and promote their implementation; and increase the reliability and availability of appropriate disaster-related information to the public and disaster management agencies in all regions, as set out in the relevant provisions of the JPOI.

World Conference on Disaster Reduction: Following two preparatory committee meetings in May and October 2004, the WCDR was held from 18-22 January 2005 in Kobe, Japan. The WCDR aimed to increase the international profile of disaster risk reduction, promote its integration into development planning and practice, and strengthen local and national capacities to address the causes of disasters that hamper development. The 168 States attending the conference adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters and the Hyogo Declaration. Delegates also took note of the “Review of the 1994 Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World and its Plan of Action” and adopted a “Common statement on the Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: Risk Reduction for a Safer Future.” The Hyogo Framework for Action was endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 60/195, and committed governments to five priorities for action, which were to: ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation; identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning; use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels; reduce the underlying risk factors; and strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.

Global platform: In 2006, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs launched a consultative process to consider practical ways of strengthening the ISDR system support governments in meeting their Hyogo Framework implementation commitments. As outlined in the Secretary-General’s reports on the implementation of the ISDR (60/180 and 61/229 respectively) the main aims were to extend participation of governments and organizations, raise the profile of disaster reduction, and construct a more coherent international effort to support national disaster reduction activities. A result of the consultations was the proposal to convene the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as an expanded and reformed successor to the IATF/DR. The Global Platform would serve as the primary multistakeholder forum for all parties involved in disaster risk reduction in order to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share experience and guide the ISDR system.

PRE-SESSION MEETINGS

On Monday, 4 June 2007, four parallel preparatory meetings were held in Geneva, Switzerland, preceding the first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction,

“Global NGO Network” Preparatory Meeting: This meeting was co-chaired by Zenaida Willison, UNDP, and Michele Cocchiglia, ISDR. Co-Chair Willison opened the meeting and outlined the evolution of the Global Network of NGOs since a consultative meeting in October 2006. Margareta Wahlström, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), highlighted: how the ISDR creates political space for risk reduction to occur; that disaster risk reduction is about changing behavior; and the role of NGOs as catalysts for creating a “global movement” for risk reduction. Co-Chair Cocchiglia outlined the agenda for the preparatory meeting and noted that it should be used as a brainstorming session to consider desired outcomes from the first session of the Global Platform.

Participants heard panel presentations from NGO representatives. On national priorities, Didier Young, CARE International, stressed disaster risk reduction is a major crosscutting issue in Madagascar and outlined progress at the national and community levels. On the health sector, Patricia Bittner, WHO, discussed reducing disaster risk in health facilities and emphasized the minimal cost of designing more disaster-proof hospitals. Manu Gupta, Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, said education should be given more emphasis. On ecosystems and environmental management, Larry Roeder, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), explained that NGOs help facilitate culturally sensitive solutions at the local level. On strengthening disaster risk reduction through preparedness, Marcus Oxley, Tearfund, outlined that preparedness was an integral part of Hyogo Framework action in many areas. On mainstreaming gender in disaster risk reduction, Suranjana Gupta, Groots International, emphasized that the Global Platform needed to establish a specific focus on gender issues.

Participants divided into six working groups for discussions of national priorities, health, education, environment, gender, and strengthening disaster risk reduction through preparedness, and reported back to the meeting with key messages. Co-Chair Willison concluded the meeting announcing the official launch of the Global Network of NGOs.

Latin American and Caribbean Briefing Session: This session was co-chaired by Dave Zervaas, ISDR, and Haris Sanahuja, ISDR. Co-Chair Zervaas introduced the session and Co-Chair Sanahuja presented the history of disaster reduction and discussed how the ISDR system functions. Co-Chair Sanahuja discussed the organization of the first session of the Global Platform, and presented a road map to the second Global Platform session in 2009.

On Hyogo Framework implementation within the Americas, Co-Chair Sanahuja discussed a provisional report titled “Measuring Progress in Disaster Risk Reduction: Americas Regional Overview 2005-2006.” He outlined: the process of adapting the Hyogo Framework to regional contexts; countries’ progress towards establishing national platforms; and the need for more funding. Participants’ comments included: the need for permanent missions, national counterparts and regional units to coordinate disaster risk reduction efforts; an explanation of ongoing efforts to draft a regional position statement; the strengthening of national platforms; and the need for disaster-proof hospitals.

Hyogo Framework Consultation for Asia and the Pacific: Sálvano Briceño, ISDR, introduced the session and highlighted the necessity for a regional approach to disaster risk reduction in Asia and the Pacific. Presentations of country experiences with national implementation of the Hyogo Framework were made by Bangladesh, Vanuatu, Nepal, Philippines, India and the Bangladesh Disaster Preparedness Center. Loy Rego, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), and Koji Suzuki, Asian Disaster Reduction Center, presented the Baseline Status Report on disaster risk reduction in Asia and the Pacific, to be used as a reference point to monitor progress on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development planning in the region.

Andrew Maskrey, ISDR, speaking on behalf of the ISDR Reference Group, discussed the development of a regional platform for implementation and monitoring of the Hyogo Framework and disaster risk reduction. Cristelle Pratt, South Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), described disaster risk reduction in the Pacific and highlighted the need to understand long-term benefits of disaster risk reduction approaches. Khampao Hompangna, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee on Disaster Management, outlined the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, indicating mutual assistance during disasters was an ASEAN founding principle.

Disaster Risk Reduction and Private Sector Leadership Roundtable: The roundtable was chaired by Daniel Gagnier, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The Participants heard a number of presentations from high-level private sector and government participants on the private sector’s experience in public-private partnerships for disaster risk reduction. Speakers discussed, inter alia: the private sector’s capacity to identify actions that would attract political support; how capital markets can alleviate and transfer risk; Japan’s experience in engaging the private sector to mitigate risk and that risk is integral to business planning; and case studies on building local resilience in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Turkey.

Group discussion and break out groups considered positive steps for building resilience through public-private action in response to a presentation setting out four mutually reinforcing key risk mitigation levers: monitoring, assessment and communications; damage control planning; risk transfer; and socio-physical strengthening. Participants identified a range of specific actions for business under each of these levers, including: enhancing communication between businesses about best practices in disaster risk reduction; educating tomorrow’s business leaders; considering the business case for protecting workforces in vulnerable countries through enhanced infrastructure both at work and at home; incentives for business engagement beyond regulation; the need for international codes for the built environment; the potential for a global funding pool with commercially and humanitarian driven elements; and the importance of engaging community and local representatives in order to enhance disaster risk reduction outcomes and advance business objectives.

REPORT OF THE GLOBAL PLATFORM

The Global Platform took place from Tuesday, 5 June to Thursday, 7 June. The plenary sessions were chaired by John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. Following the opening of the session on 5 June, participants addressed challenges and opportunities in disaster risk reduction, which included a high-level dialogue and interventions by heads of delegations and high-level participants that continued on 6 June. Eight session workshops were held on 6 June, reporting back to plenary on 7 June. Participants considered the assessment of progress in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework and ISDR system action 2008-2009 to advance implementation of the Hyogo Framework on 7 June. 

OPENING OF THE SESSION

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the first Global Platform session by video message. He stressed risk reduction is the frontline defense against disaster threats and urged participants to act with common purpose to fulfill the promise of the Hyogo Framework. Michael Ambuhl, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland, outlined that although humankind has experienced many disasters throughout its history, natural hazards do not have to be fatalistically endured. He stressed that disasters only occur when natural hazards meet human vulnerability and highlighted the ISDR system as vital to providing support for national disaster risk reduction efforts.

Chair John Holmes delivered the keynote statement stressing that disaster risk reduction is one of the most urgent issues of the twenty-first century. He outlined the need to move forward united with purpose and urgency using the Hyogo Framework as the tool and the strengthened ISDR system as the mechanism to implement disaster risk reduction. On taking action for disaster risk reduction he suggested: documenting those countries at greatest risk; mainstreaming policies to reduce losses in development efforts; increasing investment; and strengthening institutions through partnerships.

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), outlined AKDN’s disaster risk reduction activities, including its actions following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, and called for greater access to earth sciences skills and technology in developing countries. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, WMO, outlined the human and economic cost of disasters since 1980, noting that 90% were weather-related. He said WMO has worked towards improving early warning capacity and reducing loss of life. Jeff Gutman, Vice President, World Bank, noted the Bank’s emergency response programmes were increasingly emphasizing disaster risk reduction activities. He outlined how the Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction, launched with ISDR and global donors, ensured disaster risk reduction elements were incorporated into reconstruction following disasters, and said the meeting should identify tangible Hyogo Framework results.

Participants then adopted the agenda.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION

INTERVENTIONS BY HEADS OF DELEGATIONS AND HIGH-LEVEL PARTICIPANTS: Chair Holmes introduced the session and moderated interventions from high-level participants and heads of delegations. By video message, Vivian Fernandez de Torrijos, First Lady of Panama, stressed the need to recognize persons with disabilities as a vulnerable group and to integrate them into disaster risk management programmes. Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, said an ISDR office will open in Kobe and highlighted a mutual aid system developed in Japan among home owners to share disaster risk.

Malaysia discussed the need for the Global Platform to consider alternative programmes for economic recovery. Burundi said his country is implementing disaster risk reduction strategies following a decade of civil war. India welcomed the multistakeholder nature of the session and expressed hope that the outcomes of the Global Platform would feed into the 2007 session of the UN General Assembly. Nepal said the lessons learned from Nepal’s experience included the need for a collaborative framework for action and for public awareness and advocacy on disaster risk reduction. Maldives noted that the process of disaster management has political and fiscal support in the Maldives and cited the support of UN agencies, NGOs and bilateral donors. Ecuador said her country is institutionalizing disaster risk reduction and that the Global Platform provides and opportunity to exchange views and share experience. Romania said disaster risk reduction programmes are recognized by Romania as a priority for fighting disasters and must remain a priority for regional and international organizations.

Highlighting the important role of NGOs in disaster risk reduction, Pakistan discussed the poverty and disaster interface and stressed that disasters impede progress towards agreed development goals. Cameroon said civil protection and development are inextricably linked and that Cameroon will cooperate with UN on disaster risk reduction over the next five years. Guinea explained the most effective way to manage disasters was to promote prevention and highlighted Guinea’s efforts to deal with wild fires. Djibouti stated that developing countries are forced to concentrate on immediate needs and resources cannot be assigned for disasters, which occur infrequently. Tanzania outlined his country’s actions to implement the Hyogo Framework and to mainstream disaster risk reduction into its development and poverty reduction strategies, including with legislation.

Ghana described recent work by southern West African countries to progress the Hyogo Framework, and asked that the Global Platform consider a special financing mechanism for southern West African countries. Argentina outlined his country’s actions at the national, regional and global levels, and how MERCOSUR interior ministers were working to coordinate disaster risk reduction policies. Sweden outlined the Swedish International Development Agency’s increased support for disaster risk reduction activities and Sweden’s own efforts to assess increasing climate change impacts. The UK said his country was investing more in disaster risk reduction, welcomed the proposal for a comprehensive review of costs and benefits of disaster risk reduction, and said the UK wanted stronger time-bound targets under the Hyogo Framework. The EC said the EU was looking to ensure disaster risk reduction was appropriately integrated into development activities. Germany said that the Global Platform must be incorporated into all policy areas. Bangladesh outlined national initiatives to learn about earthquake and tsunami hazards.

Mozambique discussed national vulnerability and said the government has established, inter alia, several committees on risk management and an early warning system. Angola noted the installation of an early warning system for floods and the introduction of an educational programme on disaster management. El Salvador said her country has early warning assessment mechanisms in five river basins and probability risk scenarios for major volcanoes. China outlined a disaster reduction system in the Chinese national development plan. Iran noted the launch of the first regional seismic risk reduction center in Iran. Colombia highlighted issues related to reducing risk in urban areas and megacities. Turkey discussed his country’s national initiatives for disaster risk reduction since its 1999 earthquake. France described national and foreign assistance programmes for disaster risk reduction and said a regional approach should be taken.

Lesotho outlined national challenges such as HIV/AIDS and impacts of climate change on weather patterns, and noted the development of its disaster risk reduction national platform. Noting the need for stronger partnership arrangements, the Philippines discussed how his country is mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development planning and programme implementation. Highlighting the impacts of the 2005 tsunami, Thailand noted national disaster risk reduction activities including a disaster warning center. Finland welcomed a discussion on increasing funding for the ISDR and suggested developing a summary document outlining other UN agency activities on Hyogo Framework implementation. Venezuela stressed the need for mobilization at every level and said a national agency has been set up in Venezuela for disaster prevention.

Egypt discussed national disaster risk reduction measures, including efforts to strengthen the role of civil society. Spain outlined disaster risk reduction approaches at the national level and in humanitarian efforts, noting initiatives involve all ministries. Denmark discussed national, bilateral and multilateral disaster risk reduction actions, highlighting efforts to mainstream disaster risk reduction into other assistance programmes. Norway said disaster risk reduction should not be seen as an annex but as a priority for development and recommended the development of benchmarks and indicators to evaluate disaster risk reduction progress. Honduras recounted the impact of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and called for an international fund to assist developing countries affected by disasters. Indonesia discussed the nine priorities of Indonesia’s disaster risk reduction national action plan, stressing stakeholders’ involvement in its development.

Japan highlighted national support for the Global Platform and other initiatives such as the International Consortium on Landslides. Peru discussed acceleration of the Global Platform and noted the opportunity to develop five regional platforms in Latin American and Caribbean. Australia outlined aid programmes for the Asia Pacific region that developed initiatives at multiple levels including indigenous disaster response and preparedness initiatives at the community level. South Africa described disaster risk reduction partnerships in southern Africa and highlighted the implementation of the 2002 Disaster Management Act in South Africa. Sudan noted the challenges of managing disaster risk reduction within a large geographic area and in a country with internal conflicts, outlining that Sudan has 30 government institutions dealing with disaster risk reduction.

The US noted 30 deep-ocean tsunami assessment and reporting stations and explained that warnings can be tied into communications systems from national to local levels. Italy discussed the development of the national platform and action plan. Morocco outlined national and local-level activities, such as a multisectoral platform for disaster risk reduction management. Highlighting national vulnerability to climate change impacts, Brazil noted disaster risk reduction initiatives, including mapping high-risk areas. Jordan highlighted the establishment of the Supreme Council of Civil Protection in Jordan. Iraq discussed how three wars have led to different disasters, noting his country’s efforts to limit radioactive substances in the region. Nigeria described efforts to establish a national strategy for disaster risk reduction.

African Union noted that 25 African countries have developed national platforms. UN-Habitat highlighted the issue of urban migration and noted how megacities are centers of action and risk. Global NGO Network stressed that professionals must work in partnership with communities to understand local vulnerabilities and capacities and said that grassroots women need to be part of the disaster risk reduction decision-making process. UNEP highlighted that 5 June 2007 was World Environment Day, focused on the impact of climate change on polar ecosystems and communities. International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) stressed that Red Cross National Societies support communities and governments to address the risks that lead to disasters. Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission off UNESCO reported on the status of the Indian Ocean Early Warning System, noting operational tsunami monitoring and warning centers had increased from five to 38 in two years and would reach 75 by 2010.

International Labor Organization discussed disaster risk management linked to the goal of decent work and highlighted partnerships with other international agencies. WHO noted partnerships in place for national and regional coherence and highlighted the 2008-2009 safe hospital campaign. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat said disaster risk reduction is represented in the adaptation discourse of the climate change negotiations. World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted the WFP’s efforts in disaster risk reduction such as contingency planning and noted partnerships projects with FAO and World Bank. International Council for Science (ICSU) noted initiatives and forums to further disaster risk reduction. The Gender and Disaster Network stressed that gender is a cross-cutting issue requiring attention throughout the response, recovery and mitigation phases of disaster risk reduction.

UNICEF said that it is in humanity’s best interest to focus on children, youth and women. UNESCO said its executive board had adopted disaster risk reduction and preparedness as a strategic programme from 2008-2013. UN Volunteers said that volunteers are vital for reducing disaster impact. Group on Earth Observations said that global observation tools are essential for understanding risks and providing data for early warning systems. UN Convention to Combat Desertification secretariat noted that land degradation in arid areas increases both hazards and vulnerabilities. International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE) discussed activities to influence seismic safety to reduce earthquake mortality.

ADPC stressed that disaster risk reduction must seek to combat poverty, reduce vulnerability and increase community resilience. UNITAR described its efforts to increase support for providing satellite imagery to communities. Noting the impact of disasters on animals, WSPA stressed that many poor and vulnerable people rely upon animals for their livelihoods.

HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE: Chair Holmes introduced the high-level dialogue and the session’s moderator, Mishal Husain, BBC. Husain outlined the panel discussion topics: disaster risk reduction and climate change; issues and pressures posed by megacities; and exploring ways to increase disaster risk reduction’s profile on the policy agenda.

Disaster risk reduction and climate change: Saleemul Huq, International Institute for Environment and Development, said climate change is a problem of the present, not the future. He said that, due to system lag, humanity is locked into a climate-warmed world for at least 20 years. Huq highlighted that the adaptation agenda is gaining momentum and that this links strongly with disaster risk reduction. Cristelle Pratt, SOPAC, said Pacific nations experience the impacts of climate change, but do not cause it. She said climate change and disaster risk reduction are inextricably linked and that disaster risk reduction should be linked into SIDS’ adaptation programmes and development planning. She stressed the need to move toward identifying synergies and asked if ISDR could establish a SIDS forum. Daniel Gagnier, IISD, stressed that policy is not moving fast enough and that regulatory frameworks must be addressed. He said business understands risk management and reduction and synergies should be encouraged through on-the-ground, performance-based partnerships.

In the ensuing discussion participants asked about availability of disaggregated data on the greater impacts of climate change on women, and suggested gender-specific analyses. Others noted a lack of agreement on the impacts of climate change on frequency of extreme events. The IFRC said it had established 30 country centers to bring together climate change and disaster managers on adaptation strategies and called for wealthy countries to accept responsibility for helping poor countries to adapt. Others highlighted that political will is crucial for effective adaptation.

Issues and pressures posed by megacities: He Yongnian, Disaster Reduction Society, China, said China has many megacities in earthquake areas and that there is a need to act comprehensively. He said seismic zoning and evaluation is necessary in urban regions. Yongnian stressed the need for effective emergency response systems and said public participation is indispensable. Violeta Seva, Makati City, the Philippines, explained that global urbanization has led to unprecedented disaster risk and that physically blighted and decaying neighborhoods are common in urban landscapes. She said resources are needed to address the chronic risk, build capacities in institutions and recognize local governments as partners in disaster risk reduction. Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, Turkey, noted seismological evidence indicated that another major earthquake could strike Istanbul in coming decades. He said Istanbul has developed a master plan for raising preparedness, including an earthquake risk analysis of the built environment that, inter alia, seeks to disaster-proof underground trains and many hospitals, schools and public buildings. Topbas suggested establishing an international forum on risk in urban areas.

During the discussion, participants stressed that local authorities are on the disaster risk reduction frontline and highlighted that “real” implementation happens at the city level, but access to funding is key. Urban risks such as urban migration were highlighted, and the need for a plan and strategy to identify causes that lead to these risks was also identified. Seva said developing country populations must not accept risk as a way of life.

Exploring ways to increase disaster risk reduction’s position on the policy agenda: Robin Burgess, London School of Economics, said the benefits of disaster risk reduction are well understood but national governments are not taking action and should be more accountable. He proposed clearly identifying core responsibilities within governments and developing an international set of indicators to assess countries’ performance against disaster risk reduction best practice. Dean Hirsh, World Vision International, noted that NGOs were well placed to facilitate local engagement. He also noted the UK Department for International Development’s approach of allocating 10% of programme expenditure to disaster risk reduction represented best practice. Lousewies van der Laan, LW International, said getting politicians engaged is crucial to having national plans implemented. She proposed: a public list of performing and non-performing disaster risk reduction politicians; that the media run positive disaster risk reduction stories and expose corruption; engaging celebrities to raise disaster risk reduction’s profile; and honoring as heroes those that save lives through disaster risk reduction. She also called for more involvement of women in disaster risk reduction as they play key roles, including educating the next generation about risk. Reto Schnarwiler, Swiss Re, outlined how hazards’ financial consequences could be transferred to global funding pools, where the reinsurance industry has expertise and innovative approaches. He cited Mexico’s experience in recently privatizing its earthquake response fund and proposed the appointment of country “risk officers” to identify public-private partnership opportunities.

Husain opened the floor for discussions numerous participants stressed lack of funding as a barrier to implementing disaster risk reduction and emphasized the need for concrete actions and to assist the developing world. Some participants stressed that technocratic codes are important but that top-down approaches may not be appropriate. One participant noted the need to increase disaster risk reduction’s profile and ensure a percentage of funds are earmarked for disaster risk reduction interventions, while others stressed the need for tangible activities with clear benchmarks. Specific initiatives undertaken on gender equity issues in India were highlighted, as well as the work of grassroots women as agents of change in risk reduction. On accountability, Burgess highlighted the need to discipline those not delivering on disaster risk reduction policies at all levels, and Pratt said that responsibility needs to be clearly assigned. Others stressed that ISDR needs to enhance political commitment for disaster risk reduction, and highlighted issues of good governance in infrastructure development in developing countries. Van der Laan said political leadership is needed to move from ideals set out in the Hyogo Framework to action at national and local level.

Chair Holmes summarized the discussion, noting, inter alia: the need for a results-based approach to disaster risk reduction; the extensive risks in megacities and how inhabitants are both “crucibles of risk, and agents of progress”; the necessity for appropriate incentives; the need to ensure women are involved in taking decisions; the potential for the private sector to identify, manage and spread risk; and the need to make disaster risk reduction “live to people.”

SESSION WORKSHOPS

Two tracks, each including four workshops, took place in parallel on 6 June. The first track focused on “Disaster risk reduction as a national priority: exchange of experience among countries and organizations on different institutional options and processes that lead to change,” with the workshops referred to as “National Mechanisms Workshops”, and the second track discussed “Integrating disaster risk reduction into sector agendas.”

DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY: EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCE AMONG COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS ON DIFFERENT INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS AND PROCESSES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE: On 6 June, National Mechanisms Workshops Co-Chairs Satori Nishikawa, Japan, and Maria Bilia, Tanzania, introduced the programme of the four concurrent workshops under this theme. Each workshop reported back to the National Mechanisms group on 6 June. On 7 June, Co-Chair Nishikawa reported the findings of all four workshops to plenary.

National coordination mechanisms – National Platforms for disaster risk reduction: Irmgard Schwaetzer, Germany, and David Smith Wiltshire, CEPREDENAC, co-chaired the workshop.

Chandradasa Uwl, Sri Lanka, outlined extensive efforts since 2004 to coordinate previously disparate disaster risk reduction activities. He said this culminated in the establishment, in May 2007, of a high-level multisectoral committee under the leadership of the Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. Fatemi Aghda, Iran, said Iran was quick to develop a national plan following WCDR and that they improved seismic data to prioritize enhancing buildings’ earthquake resilience. Following Iran’s experience, he recommended involving the ISDR and international advisers for developing all national plans.

Daniel Gallardo Monge, Costa Rica, said a 2006 national disaster risk reduction platform review emphasized prevention above response. He outlined how Costa Rica had provided an annual budget for addressing key vulnerabilities such as housing constructed in high risk areas. Jean Rakotomalala, Madagascar, outlined how Madagascar’s different regions faced cyclones, droughts, floods and locust infestations and that in 2004 Madagascar had strengthened its national early warning system to integrate early warning of tsunamis. Didier Young, CARE International, demonstrated a series of risk and vulnerability maps of Madagascar that support disaster risk reduction coordination.

Philippe Boulle, French Association for the Prevention of Natural Disasters, presented an initiative, proposed by France, Germany and Switzerland, to establish a network of European national platforms. Its work programme would include emphasis on early warning systems, information exchange and technology compatibility. Florian Widmer, National Platform Natural Hazards (PLANAT), Switzerland, outlined the Swiss approach. He presented a new PLANAT publication “How to create and run a Platform, 1997-2007: Ten years of experience.” Karl-Otto Zentel, Germany, said the German Committee for Disaster Management (DKKV) had been founded in 2000, was a multistakeholder platform, and had ministries as permanent observers but not members. He said some members, such as business associations, acted as “amplifiers” by linking into their own networks. René Feunteun, France, outlined France’s approach, developed over three decades, to disaster risk reduction. He noted funding was sourced from national insurance payments with a portion set aside for preventive measures. Alexandra Orsolani and Yaoly Oyón, Venezuela, said Venezuela had established its national platform in 2000 and had developed a framework of integrated prevention and response measures. Dhar Chakrabarti, India, described how women are disproportionately affected by disasters and said women suffer more deaths and injuries. He called for women to be involved in disaster risk reduction management at all levels.

In the report back to the National Mechanisms Workshops’ group, Co-Chair Schwaetzer noted the topics related to national platforms discussed, inter alia: institutional arrangements, internal organization, funding, capacity building and preparedness. She said the workshop had highlighted the importance of: early warning systems; people-centered activities through education; gender aspects; and adaptation to climate change. Co-Chair Schwaetzer said the workshop identified a need to: encourage more governments to meet Hyogo Framework obligations to prepare national platforms; define best practice in national platforms, taking into account existing structures; keep in mind the political dimension; and focus on securing livelihoods, as well as lives.

Policy and legislation for sustainable disaster risk reduction: Mandisa Kalako-Williams, South Africa, and Miguel Bermeo, UNDP, co-chaired the workshop. Presentations were given by: Julio Icaza, Nicaragua, on Nicaragua’s policy and legislative process; Belarmino Chivambo, Mozambique, on flood management in Mozambique; Milivoje Popovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the process of disaster management legislation in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Dhiraj Malakar, Bangladesh, and Ian Rector, UN Office for Project Services, on the comprehensive reform of policy and legislative systems for disaster risk reduction in Bangladesh; and Sarah La Trobe, Tearfund, on legislation for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in South Africa.

In the report back to the National Mechanisms Workshops’ group, Co-Chair Kalako-Williams outlined a number of guiding principles identified by the workshop for development of policy and legislation, including to recognize that: nations need to develop and “own” their approach, as one size could not fit all; policy champions are needed; and the development of carefully considered legislation takes time. She said key challenges include: clearly identifying governance at the national level; strengthening planning processes at local and regional levels; sustainable financing; effective regulation following legislation; and maintaining political will.

Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and national development instruments: Dean Cira, World Bank, chaired the workshop, which identified current practices and highlighted processes that lead to the effective integration of disaster risk reduction. Presenters focused on enabling factors that generate commitment for disaster risk reduction from government ministries and steps that have been taken to translate poverty reduction and other strategies into action. Farooq Khan (Pakistan), Paolo Zucula (Mozambique), Howie Prince (St. Vincent), Lilian Ng’oma (Malawi), and Loy Rego, ADPC, and Glenn Rabonza (the Philippines), made presentations on their country experiences in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into national development instruments.

In the report back to the National Mechanisms Workshops’ group, Chair Cira outlined key findings of the workshop, including the need to: engage policymakers at the highest level, notably finance and planning ministries; select language carefully to reflect economic development implications; use international organizations, such as the World Bank, to advance the disaster risk reduction agenda; focus on key sectors initially, such as infrastructure and education, to demonstrate success; engage NGOs and the private sector, as well as government, in mainstreaming; and take advantage of the opportunities disasters provide to build better infrastructure in reconstruction efforts.

From national frameworks to local action: Implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action: Diana Rubiano, Colombian Direction for Prevention and Attention to Emergencies, and Margaret Arnold, ProVention Consortium, co-chaired the workshop. Four country case studies were presented from Peru, India, Jamaica and Malawi followed by an interactive discussion. On promoting low-cost, grassroots-managed earthquake resistant housing in Peru, Olga de Jesús Ramirez Reategui, Women United for a Better Town, Peru, Luz Maria Sanchez Hurtado, Strategy, Peru, and Omar Marcos Arteaga, Mayor of Ventanilla, Peru, made a joint presentation. Manimegalai Suvaperumal, Panchayat Leader, India, VC Nadarajan, Covenant Center for Development, India and Prabodh Dhar Chakrabarti, National Institute for Disaster Management, India, discussed monitoring post-disaster reconstruction for risk reduction in India. Carmen Griffiths, Marcia Antoinette Christian, Construction Resource Development Centre (CRDC), Jamaica, and Franklin McDonald, Jamaica, discussed the experience of community-based hazard mapping and preparedness planning in Jamaica. Tearfund presented a video on multistakeholder flood management in Malawi.

In the report back to the National Mechanisms Workshops’ group, Carmen Griffiths said the workshop had addressed: the importance of designating specific funds to support action and in particular ensuring that 20% of disaster risk reduction funds go towards community-based implementation and monitoring initiatives in 2008, rising to 30% by 2013; recognizing gender issues; and having community-based organizations involved in planning.

Integrating disaster risk reduction into sector agendas: The four workshops under this track reported back to plenary individually on 7 June.

Education for Disaster Risk Reduction and Safer Schools in Communities at Risk: Boniface Gambila Adagbila, Regional Minister of Upper East Region of the Gambia, chaired the session. Marco Ferrari, Switzerland, provided the keynote address to the workshop, he welcomed participants and said real progress in disaster risk reduction will be made through the younger generation. The session was moderated by David Archer, ActionAid International. On school safety, Farokh Parsizadeh, Public Education International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, Iran, discussed efforts to promote disaster preparedness through “earthquake safety councils in schools.” Tatsuya Fujioka, Joetsu University of Education, Japan, highlighted the regional nature and role of the education system. Participants commented that disaster authorities should work with education ministries and others stressed the need to share information over the internet.

On formal education, Vladimir Kakusha, the Russian Federation, said his country dedicates one hour every week in schools to training children to prepare for emergencies. Jean Rakotomalala, Madagascar, described a practical manual for primary schools and a handbook for teachers. Gerd Tetzlaff, Germany, reported on the incorporation of disaster reduction into the German education system but said there are no programmes to educate teachers. Participants discussed, inter alia: the need for “professional will” as well as political will; the benefits of child-to-child approaches; and the effectiveness of experiential learning.

On community-based education, Dang Vang Tao, IFRC, discussed a project in Vietnam with the Red Cross involving community-level disaster preparedness for community development boards. Una De Reyes, Panama, presented a video on a disaster reduction project involving disabled children. On global public awareness, Rebecca Scheurer, American Red Cross, said key messages include that disaster preparedness is easy, essential, vital and worth the cost. Ruth Custode, ISDR, Panama, said lack of communication between schools is a key challenge to disaster preparedness programmes. Participants discussed the importance of the broadcast media and the effectiveness of new media such as “Youtube.”

In the report back to plenary, Chair Adagbila noted the development of a zero mortality target for school children, and highlighted challenges such as training teachers and acquiring better education materials. Adagbila recommended, inter alia, using distance learning tools, developing stronger multistakeholder networks and partnering with education systems to educate children to think critically and analytically.

Health and disaster risk reduction: Gulam Juma, Focus Humanitarian Assistance, chaired the session. Panel presentations were given by: Samir Ben Yahmed, WHO, on the current status of disaster risk reduction in the health sector at the global level; Tony Gibbs, Consulting Engineers Partnership Ltd, Barbados, on the impact of disasters on health facilities in Grenada; Amod Mani Dixit, National Society for Earthquake Engineering, Nepal, on the impact of disasters on health facilities in Nepal; and Carmencita Alberto-Banatin, the Philippines, on the steps governments are taking to reduce the risk of health services failing during disasters.

In the report back to plenary, Ciro Ugarte, Pan American Health Organization, said it is politically, economically and ethically unacceptable to build health facilities that are not disaster resilient, and stressed the health sector should play a pivotal role at all levels in disaster risk reduction. He cited specifically the need for a multisectoral and community-level approach.

Incorporating Disaster Risk Reduction into Preparedness: Margareta Wahlström, OCHA, chaired the session. On strengthening disaster risk reduction through preparedness at the national and community levels, Lorena Cajas, Ecuador, stressed the need for accurate baseline data that is centralized and accessible. Dorothy Francis, Jamaica Red Cross, explained that when linked with the right partners, communities are able to manage their own risks and threats. Moses Gitari, Kenya, explained that disaster risk reduction is being mainstreamed into the ministerial planning process in Kenya and that traditional knowledge is being utilized. Johann Goldammer, Global Fire Monitoring Centre (GFMC), outlined that community-based fire management takes into account traditional burning and delivers tools for uncontrolled situations. Participants discussed the need for political will, adequate legal frameworks, and the recognition and management of tensions between actions and costs to strengthen disaster risk reduction through preparedness.

On the support of the international community and national governments for disaster risk reduction through preparedness, Line Urban, European Commission Humanitarian Aid, said one of the challenges of humanitarian activity is to strengthen, rather than replace, local response capacities. Seyda Sever, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, discussed earthquake preparedness in Turkey through providing training for volunteers and certifying them through the civil defense department. Mahmadtoir Zokirov, Tajikistan, said disasters don’t have national borders and described the community-managed Lake Sarez early warning system. Bisweswar Bhattacharjee, India, highlighted that reconstruction should be considered an opportunity to construct disaster resilient structures and said Geographic Information System (GIS) based data is essential for developing preparedness strategies.

In the ensuing discussion participants focused on: the low percentage of spending allocated to preparedness by aid agencies; the cost effectiveness of disaster risk reduction; mechanisms for regional cooperation for disaster preparedness; and that funding proposals to donors rarely include preparedness in project design, but that donors can make a percentage allocation a requirement. 

In the report back to plenary, Lorena Cajas, Ecuador, discussed key issues raised by presenters, including: the need to share best practices and innovative multisectoral projects; incorporating small-scale local communities in international preparedness; implementing volunteer programmes in urban areas; and the need for an inclusive and participatory approach for mitigation and preparedness.

Ecosystems and environmental management for risk reduction: The session was co-chaired by Kofi Poku Adusei, Ghana, and Palle Lingaard-Jørgensen, Denmark. Presentations were given by: Franklin McDonald, UNEP, on disaster risk criteria in environmental impact assessments in Jamaica; Palle Jørgensen, DHI Water Policy, on the role of environmental science and information in disaster reduction in Denmark; Siti Aini Hanum, Indonesia, on decision support system development for environmental disaster risk reduction in Indonesia; Ricardo Giesecke, Peru, on environment and climate change adaptation in the Peruvian Andes; Gerald Mango, Tanzania, on land-use planning and disaster reduction in Tanzania; and Samantha Hettiarachchi, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, on environmental options for coastal defense in Sri Lanka.

In the report back to plenary, Kurt Mørck Jensen, Denmark, noted that participants agreed that environmental management provides opportunities to reduce risk. He highlighted the need to, inter alia: incorporate gender sensitivity and local knowledge into disaster risk reduction; utilize environmental management tools such as environmental impact assessments; and encourage the international community to integrate the environment into disaster risk reduction.

ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HYOGO FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION

Chair Holmes introduced the discussion on assessment of progress in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. Sálvano Briceño, ISDR, noted that the draft report (ISDR/GP/2007/3) on Hyogo Framework implementation progress will be revised to reflect the Global Platform’s discussions and the final report will be presented to UNGA in October 2007.

Regional and global overview of implementation – progress and gaps: Reports were provided on recent regional and global reviews on the processes underway to support Hyogo Framework implementation. Mothoheloa Phooko, Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Lesotho, spoke on behalf of the Africa Region (ISDR/GP/2007/Inf.4), and outlined African countries’ development of a regional disaster risk reduction strategy. He said many African countries had established national platforms and started mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development programmes. He recommended, inter alia: strengthening monitoring and assessment, including early warning systems; using existing forums, such as the African Union, to advance regional and sub-regional Hyogo Framework objectives; and identifying risks for Africa that will increase as a result of climate change.

Pablo Gonzalez, Organization of American States (OAS), outlined progress in the Americas and work by OAS to advance disaster risk reduction. He said its regional report (ISDR/GP/2007/Inf.7), based on input from 25 national and regional organizations, indicated progress on achieving the five Hyogo Framework priorities. He said that the OAS’s Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation, which met for the first time in Bolivia in 2006, is enhancing Hyogo Framework implementation.

Cristelle Pratt, SOPAC, presented the report on Asia and the Pacific (ISDR/GP/2007/Inf.5), which she said is the world’s most disaster prone area. She said countries have progressed on disaster risk reduction but that additional needs include: consultations to accelerate cross-regional strategies; elaboration of the tsunami warning system into a multi-hazard framework; and integration of disaster risk reduction into MDGS plans and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

 Francesc Pla, Council of Europe, presented the report on Europe (ISDR/GP/2007/Inf.6) and said one driving idea is the interaction between scientists and policymakers. He explained that challenges include: information sharing and communication and exchange; the coordination of stakeholders at national and regional levels; and moving from a disaster response approach to disaster risk reduction.

Fawzi Mohamed, Egypt, presented the report for Middle East and North Africa (ISDR/GP/2007/Inf.8), underscoring that climate change remains a key regional concern and said an ISDR outreach office will open in Cairo. He outlined remaining challenges, including embedding disaster risk reduction in institutional arrangements and the need to increase financial support.

 Andrew Maskrey, ISDR, presented the results of the “Disaster Risk Reduction: 2007 Global Review” (ISDR/GP/2007/3). He explained that the report focused on both mortality and economic risk. Maskrey highlighted that climate change does not cause disasters, but exacerbates hazards. He summarized progress made against the five Hyogo Framework priorities including: increased political momentum for disaster risk reduction at national and regional levels; major advances in early warning system development; increased disaster risk reduction in school curricula; progress in enhancing building codes; and progress made in mechanisms for preparedness and response. He noted the challenges to achieving the Hyogo Framework priorities include the low engagement of the private and financial sectors and the lack of integration of disaster reduction into climate change strategies. Maskrey said the primary challenge to achieving the goals of Hyogo Framework is the involvement of the development community.

Implementation in thematic areas – progress and gaps: Discussions of progress in thematic areas focused on collaborative activities among ISDR partners to support the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. Carlos Villacis, UNDP, highlighted the need for indicators for disaster risk to evaluate the impacts of risk reduction activities and noted the development of a risk assessment and identification group. He said the group has two main objectives: to improve information on risks and to ensure it is used to inform decision making and development planning. Maryam Golnaraghi, WMO, reported on the status of early warning systems, recounting the significant attention paid to it over recent years. She proposed that the next session of the Global Platform focus on early warning systems.

Noting that drought leads to a disaster where vulnerability is high, Yvette Stevens, ISDR, highlighted the need to marshall resources and identify partnerships and networks at multiple levels to enable drought risk reduction. John Carstensen, UNEP, highlighted the linkages between adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction and noted how the climate change working group had developed information and documents on this topic. Anil Sinha, International Recovery Platform (IRP), said the IRP is a source of knowledge and good public practice in relation to learning from disaster recovery. He noted that IRP hosts high-level events, coordinates regional platforms, and develops tools and resources to fill and identify gaps.

Marcus Oxley, Tearfund, on behalf of the Global Network of NGOs, noted the NGO position paper developed before the conference. In relation to disaster risk reduction, he highlighted the need for clear targets, incorporating civil society and communities, and scaling up economic investment. Gordon McBean, ICSU, stressed that more knowledge is needed on the causes of hazards, suggested science and technology mechanisms be introduced, and recommended the second session of the Global Platform focus on issues related to science and technology.

In the ensuing discussions, GFMC proposed that the Second International Wildland Fire Summit be held under the auspices of ISDR. India described the initiation of a national disaster management institute. Germany described a national questionnaire on the integration of disaster risk reduction into humanitarian assistance. Yemen cautioned against using the terms disaster risk reduction and disaster response interchangeably and called for clear differentiation between the concepts. Nigeria cited convergence between disaster risk reduction efforts and development, but said the gap between policies and actions must be bridged. ProAct Network, highlighted the issue of ecosystems in disasters and said case studies on successful management should be disseminated. Peru described a national committee of hospitals to coordinate relief. UNICEF confirmed the agency’s commitment to work on disaster risk reduction at the country level.

ISDR SYSTEM ACTION 2008-2009 TO ADVANCE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HYOGO FRAMEWORK

Briefings were provided on the development of the ISDR system and progress toward an ISDR system planning framework, and a keynote statement was made on public-private partnerships.

ISDR system development: Chair Holmes discussed progress in strengthening the ISDR system during the preceding two years and said the Global Platform was the “fruit of this progress.” He stressed that the active engagement of partners and partnerships are a source of ISDR’s strength. Holmes said participants should take messages from the meeting to their organizations and countries, and expressed hope that the next two years will see further real progress.

Collaborative planning and key results for the ISDR system 2008-2009: Kathleen Cravero, UNDP, discussed the draft Joint Planning Framework and said it should be completed by late 2007. She said this will include jointly agreed results and support better reporting on disaster risk reduction progress. She commended the commitment of Global Platform participants and the innovative ideas generated.

Public-private partnerships: James Lee Witt, James Lee Witt Associates, presented a video on Project Impact, a US disaster risk reduction project implemented in the 1990s. He said disasters cost billions every year, but that every dollar spent on preparedness measures saves four dollars on response. Witt explained that mitigation must be part of national dialogue and become community culture. He said building disaster-resilient communities requires four activities: public-private partnerships; risk assessment; prioritization and mitigation; and celebration of successes. Witt detailed the involvement of the private sector in the US, specifically their role in raising public awareness about the need for preparedness and empowering communities to undertake activities themselves.

WRAP-UP BY THE CHAIR AND CLOSE OF THE SESSION

DRAFT CHAIR’S SUMMARY: On 7 June, Chair Holmes circulated a draft Chair’s Summary to plenary and explained that it has no formal status, but that the document represents suggestions gathered during the Global Platform. Chair Holmes then read out the document, which includes three sections: supporting country efforts; programme focuses; and ISDR system development.

Under supporting country efforts, key areas include: the need to focus on the most vulnerable countries and groups; the value of assisting countries to share best practices; strengthening good disaster risk reduction donor practices; and developing indicators to enhance accountability. Key issues under programme focuses include: adaptation to climate change; cities and urban areas; advocacy; gender issues; and scaling-up proven effective practices. Key issues identified for ISDR system development include: promoting and catalyzing widespread engagement; strengthening regional mechanisms and thematic capacities to stimulate wider ISDR engagement; continuing the Global Platform, with the next session to review action emerging from the first session; and strengthening the Trust Fund for Disaster Reduction. Chair Holmes invited comments for additions or amendments to the draft Summary.

Participant comments on the draft Chair’s Summary: Marco Ferrari, Chair of the ISDR Support Group, said UNGA should recognize formally the Global Platform’s establishment as well as an intersessional management process. He proposed: a provisional advisory group to steer follow-up action; that the UN provide core budget funding for ISDR; and, supported by the Russian Federation, that ISDR be permanently located in Geneva. Daniel Gallardo, Costa Rica, reminded the plenary of the need for urgent action. ProVention Consortium, supported by the US, suggested that the Chair’s Summary should be more action-oriented, particularly in relation to women. Groots International proposed inclusion of a specific target of 20% of all disaster risk reduction resources to go to community participation. The African Union suggested reference to Africa’s high exposure to hazards. ICSU, supported by the IAEE, noted the need to build science and technology capacity in all ISDR countries.

India highlighted the importance of connecting existing networks to amplify the impact of information exchange. IFRC sought concrete targets, and urged others to replicate its doubling of disaster risk reduction expenditure by 2010. The Russian Federation suggested the non-status of the document be included in the Chair’s Summary and noted that the development of indicators is primarily a task for governments. UNEP recommended that the Global Platform propose a special report to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the linkages between climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. Venezuela suggested that the Summary become a declaration, contain more reference to regional meetings and recommend the development of an advisory group to the Global Platform, and explore the linkages between Geneva and New York ISDR offices.

ActionAid International suggested the summary report include more specific reference to, inter alia: geographical areas where climate change concerns are greatest, such as Africa; and women facing heightened risk from disasters. Norway recommended that regional cooperation, the role of civil society and education curriculum be further emphasized, and the language on funding be made more positive. Finland said the issue of necessary core funding should be included in the text. Luxembourg suggested reference to a fixed percentage of funding from humanitarian aid be directed to disaster risk reduction.

Daniel Gagnier, World Economic Forum, highlighted that business may assist in moving disaster risk reduction higher up governments’ agendas, and stressed the role of public-private partnerships. Tearfund recommended adding reference to targets and local communities in the text. The Dominican Republic suggested adding reference to SIDS. France recommended including reference to disaster risk reduction in relation to sustainable development activities, good governance and compliance with state standards. Guinea said the question is not of humanitarian aid but of development aid, and suggested that the document should state what portion of development aid should be set aside for disaster risk reduction. Colombia suggested referring to urban risk and regional platforms. ADPC said the Chair’s Summary should convey a greater sense of urgency and reflect the need to accelerate Hyogo Framework implementation.

Chair Holmes thanked participants for the comments and said the document will be revised to reflect the discussion. It will then be made available for two weeks on the Global Platform website for further comment. He said the official ISDR report will reflect specific proposals made during the Global Platform, which will be published within two months and feed into the Secretary General’s report on implementation of ISDR.

CLOSE OF SESSION: Mukesh Kapila, IFRC, on behalf of the Oversight Management Board, said the Board will continue to lend robust support to the ISDR system and work to strengthen and broaden it. Chair Holmes said the Hyogo Framework must be implemented and not merely reflected upon. He noted that meeting participants carry the message to parliamentarians and political leaders of all kinds, reach out to donors and development banks and foster relationships with the media to ensure practical steps for disaster reduction are communicated. Chair Holmes explained that he will commission a high-level study to advance the economic case for disaster reduction, to be completed before 2009. In closing, he thanked participants, saying the challenges are daunting, but that the Global Platform and participants are aware of what needs to be done to make progress. He closed the meeting at 4:59 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE RELATED RISKS AND EXTREME EVENTS UNDER THE NAIROBI WORK PROGRAMME: This workshop will take place in Cairo, Egypt, from 18-20 June 2007. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; internet: http://unfccc.int/adaptation/sbsta_agenda_item_adaptation/items/3953.php

32nd International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment: This symposium will take place in San José, Costa Rica, from 25-29 June 2007. For more information, contact: Secretariat; tel: +506-232-3605; fax: +506-232-0423; email: isrse_32@conare.ac.cr; internet: http://www.cenat.ac.cr/simposio/

XXIV General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics: This meeting will take place in Perugia, Italy from 2-13 July 2007. For more information, contact: Secretariat; tel: +39-075-5014-428; fax: +39-075-5014-437; e-mail: secretary@iugg2007perugia.it; internet: http://www.iugg2007perugia.it/

Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference 2007: From Warnings to Response and Recovery: This conference will take place in Brisbane, Australia, from 3-4 July 2007. For more information, contact: fax: +61-7-4925-0831; email: ahm07@hazards-education.org; internet: http://www.hazards-education.org/ahm07/

17th World Conference on Disaster Management: This conference will take place in Toronto, Canada from 8-11 July 2007. For more information, contact: Alysone Will, Conference Coordinator; tel: +416 595-1414, ext: 224; fax: +416 979-1819; email: coord@wcdm.org; internet: http://www.wcdm.org/

AOGS 2007: Asia Oceanic Geosciences Society (AOGS) 4th Annual Meeting: This meeting will take place in Bangkok, Thailand from 30 July-3 August 2007. For more information, contact: AOGS Secretariat; tel: +65-6221-2310; fax: +65-6221-2760; email: info@asiaoceania-conference.org; internet: http://www.asiaoceania-conference.org/

International Disaster Reduction Conference (IDRC 2007): This conference will take place in Harbin, China from 21-25 August 2007. For more information, contact: IDRC Secretariat; tel.: + 41-81-417-0231; fax: + 41-81-417-0823; email: info@idrc.info; internet: http://www.idrc.info/

Seventh Annual IIASA-DPRI Forum on Integrated Disaster Risk Management: This forum will take place in Stresa, Italy, from 19-21 September 2007. For more information, contact: Forum Secretariat; email: idrim@iiasa.ac.at; internet: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/RAV/conf/IDRiM07/

Cities on Volcanoes 5 (COV5): This convention will take place in Shimabara, Japan from 19-23 November 2007. For more information, contact: COV5 Secretariat: fax: +81-3-3423-4108; e-mail: cov5-regi@the-convention.co.jp; internet: http://www.citiesonvolcanoes5.com/

2nd International Conference on Urban Disaster Reduction (ICUDR): Large-Scale Disaster Management: This conference will take place in Taipei, Taiwan from 27-29 November 2007. For more information, contact: Dr. Bing-Ru Wu; tel: +886-2-6628-6066 ext. 648; fax: +886-2-6628-2588; e-mail: icudr@ncdr.nat.gov.tw; internet: http://www.ncdr.nat.gov.tw/2ICUDR/

GLOSSARY
 

ADPC
BBC
CEPREDENAC
GFMC
IAEE
ICSU
IDNDR
IFRC
ISDR
MERCOSUR
SIDS
SOPAC
WCDR
WSPA
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
British Broadcasting Corporation
Coordination Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America
Global Fire Monitoring Centre
International Association for Earthquake Engineering
International Council for Science
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Southern Common Market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Paraguay)
Small island developing states
South Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission
World Conference on Disaster Reduction
World Society for the Protection of Animals

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Melanie Ashton, Richard de Ferranti and James Van Alstine. The Digital Editor is Melanie Ashton. The Editor is Lisa Schipper, Ph.D. <lisa@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James �Kimo� Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.