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Just politicians rhetorics?: 7th Asian Ministerial Conference DRR

Six African young women standing while reading a UNEP leaflet on the hands of one of them Ms Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh and Chair of GNDR

Is it just rhetorics? wonders Farah Kabir, Chair of GNDR, on the repeated mentions by the political establishment at the 7th AMCDRR on the need for partnerships and working on an integrated manner. Ms Kabir praised the ability of civil society to coordinate and speak with one loud voice at the Conference.

The first Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction post SFDRR was held in Delhi, 3-5 November 2016. The aim of the conference was to develop an Asia Implementation Plan to guide countries on how to ensure the SFDRR has a real impact in the disaster - and climate change- prone communities of Asia.

At the highest level of political power present at the AMCDRR, there was articulation of the need for recognition of the non-state actors and contributions of civil society, including women’s leadership in DRR. Repeatedly, we heard of the need to integrate and work in partnership. Was it just rhetorics?

GNDR members from the region shared their experiences from the ground/frontline regarding building community resilience. They joined the CSOs calling for integration of the global frameworks and agreements adopted by global leadership in 2015 in the Asia Implementation Plan. Multiple groups from civil society with a focus on gender, children and youth, persons with disabilities or animal protection, sent out the message of 'Include Us'. The Sendai Framework for Disasterr Rik Reduction states that civil society must be included in the design, implementation and monitoring of resilience policies and activities, but so far that commitment has not been realized meaningfully.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) present at the AMCDRR organized themselves with a call to stakeholders for involvement, engagement and effective participation of communities at planning level and all levels of the process. It was a call to safeguard the interest of the most at risk people. We are looking forward to relevant finance and investment in DRR.

Civil society demonstrated at this 7th AMCDRR that we can coordinate and speak with one strong voice. A civil society statement and commitment was developed, led by the strong coordination of the regional network ADRRN. Further, in an effort to be stronger and together, a joint statement was developed between representatives of CSOs, children and youth, gender groups, the private sector, media, local authorities, persons with disabilities, and other groups. We hope that UNISDR and States of Asia will acknowledge the voice of civil society and extend out to work together.

I hope that these diverse civil society groups can continue to work together until the goal of becoming an integral part is achieved as we look ahead to the UNISDR Global Platform in May 2017 in Cancun, Mexico.

Farah Kabir is Chair of the Global Board of GNDR.

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