Churches' agency calls on UN to empower disaster prone communities

By agency reporter
March 13, 2015

UN member states meet in Sendai, Japan this week (14-18 March) to negotiate a new global disaster risk reduction (DRR) plan which will aim to make vulnerable communities around the world more resilient to extreme weather events.

The agreement, being negotiated at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, will replace the Hyogo Framework for Action which was agreed in 2005 and ends this year.

Christian Aid, the UK-based churches global development agency, has said there are three essential points that nations must agree in order for any deal in Sendai to be successful.

Firstly, the world needs to ensure at-risk communities are put at the heart of the process because one of the weaknesses of the first Hyogo Framework is that it has failed to empower local communities to manage everyday risk. In order to facilitate this, governments should allocate a portion of their DRR budget to local administrations so that community-led projects are ready to cope with disasters, reducing the need for external humanitarian responses.

Secondly, in order for any outcome to have an impact it needs to set ambitious, achievable and measurable national targets.

Finally, DRR needs to be embedded into all international development strategies. Global warming is only going to cause more erratic and unpredictable weather patterns and policies across climate change, development and disaster relief need to be joined up in order to ensure communities are able to better withstand natural hazards.

Christian Aid’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor, Jacopo Villani, said: “The commitment of governments and civil society organisations is essential to ensure that policies are translated into meaningful solutions and local communities are able to respond to recurring disasters independently. UN member states have a chance to make disaster-prone populations more resilient to natural hazards by empowering local communities, enhancing accountability and integrating DRR into relevant humanitarian and development policies.”

* Christian Aid http://www.christianaid.org.uk/index.aspx

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