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My highlights of the 7th AMCDRR Day 1

Six African young women standing while reading a UNEP leaflet on the hands of one of them The 7th Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR took place in New Delhi, India, 2-5 November 2016

Levinia Francisco from the Center for Disaster Preparedness, Philippines, shares her highlights from her participation from the pre-conference (Day 0) and Day 1 of the 7th AMCDRR.

I participated in ADRRN's session on Civil Society Partnerships for Local Level Implementation of Sendai Framework. Here, the latest draft of the pdfCSO position paper was presented. Participants were asked to agree on their key messages, CSO commitments, and key asks to governments, inter-governmental organizations and other stakeholders. We were grouped according to a specific theme such as Innovation and Knowledge-sharing, Leadership, CSO Participation and Coordination, Reporting and Accountability and Linking Local Plans to National Strategies. You can see below the output of the group on Innovation and Knowledge-sharing where we took part in. We also participated in the launching of ADRRN's Local Leaders' Forum for Disaster Resilience which was established to provide a common platform for local Asian leaders, from town mayors to community volunteers, to share learnings and provide inspiration in line of working towards building community resiliency.

We also attended the technical session on Disaster Risk Governance (watch at AMCDRR 2016 - Disaster Risk Governance and Accountability (THEM2). From the presentation of the panelists, it was evident that there's really a need to level off on what is good disaster risk governance. As for some, it may just be looking at how the whole bureaucratic system works efficiently and effectively. For others, it entails democratizing DRR processes where civil society, especially marginalized and vulnerable communities and sectors, can meaningfully participate to ensure that DRR and CCA programs and projects are aligned with current and projected needs, among others. How we take into meaning good DRR governance is crucial in how we will design our own national and local SFDRR roadmaps and action plans. This emphasizes the need to not just assert at-risk communties and sectors' role as DRR and development actors but also push for enabling conditions to ensure that their participation is sustained. This may be done through funding, capacity-building, reporting and accountability mechanisms, and learning platforms to share concrete ways on how to ensure meaningful civil society participation, among others. One resource that we can lookout for is UNISDR's Sendai Framework “Words into Action” Implementation Guide for Improving Disaster Risk Reduction Governance and Accountability.

We also participated in the thematic session on National and Local Strategies where we raised inclusion of at-risk communities and sectors in national and local governance processes as an indicator in measuring progress in disaster governance as part of country monitoring of SFDRR implementation, as it seemed to be barely considered in the presentation of assessment on DRRM implementation or alignment of national strategies to the SFDRR by panelists. It was enriching to hear what has been done towards building resiliency in the countries who presented in the panel. However, there is still much to be shared on how regional mechanisms and platforms can be maximized or further enhanced to enable alignment of national and local strategies not just to SFDRR but also the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.

Speaking of which, a welcome perspective from the "community of climate advocates," Action on Climate Today, shared on how we can maximize interlinkages between DRR and CCA:

  • Linking national and local DRR plans to adaptation plans
  • Syncing planning and institutional mechanisms on DRR and CCA
  • Tapping into National Adaptation Funds (e.g. in the Philippines' case, the People's Survival Fund) and the Green Climate Fund
  • Mainstreaming DRR-CCA in sectoral policies, particularly on the agricultural sector

Finally, we were able to catch up and peer into the drafting committee session which used to be a closed door meeting. That day's session was a negotiation on the AMCDRR's Political Declaration (please pdfsee attached the draft that would be adopted at a later day). By the time, I got there, there seem to be only a few countries participating, such as Japan, Lao, Thailand, Iran, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Australia. About the political declaration being drafted:

  • ​Climate change agreement was proposed to be included in: "Enhance regional cooperation including strengthening the role of Inter-governmental Organizations for coherent implementation of the Sendai Framework and the broader 2030 sustainable development agenda at national, sub-regional and regional levels, sharing of knowledge and experiences and fostering innovative partnerships." (Philippines, who came in late, proposed that Paris agreement be included, but Japan and Australia opposed this as they perceive it to be too "political" and countries were wary on how the agreement will further evolve). This was massively disappointing as all the talks on urgent action on climate change and the need to promote coherence among DRR, SDGs and Climate Agreement among the technical and thematic sessions were basically sidelined and rendered meaningless by this move. If you will see, the political declaration makes no mention of the Paris Agreement nor climate change.
  • North-South, South-South and Triangular cooperation were taken out of "Promote the role of science, technology and research in providing evidence and knowledge on disaster risks and how to reduce them." and was instead replaced by "international cooperation" but was then added in "Enhance regional cooperation including strengthening the role of Inter-governmental Organizations for coherent implementation of the Sendai Framework and the broader 2030 sustainable development agenda at national, sub-regional and regional levels, sharing of knowledge and experiences and fostering innovative partnerships." -- Japan was insisting to not specify North-South, South-South when it comes to promotion of science and technology, Iran argues against this. But was able to reach a compromise by indicating that N-S, S-S and triangular cooperation will be done in all areas of disaster risk reduction.
  • There was inclusion on honoring commitments on official development assistance of developed to developing countries. In relation to this, Iran was insisting to use "invite," Japan wanted to use "urge" so it was rephrased to: "note that an effective and meaningful global partnership.. including fulfillment of respective commitments and official development assistance by developed countries are essential for effective disaster risk management."

That's all for now. Keep alert for my highlights on Day 2.

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