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My highlights of the 7th AMCDRR Day 2

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 on Day 2 of the 7th AMCDRR.

Technical Session on Enabling Governance for Coherence in DRR, Sustainable Development (SDGs) and Climate

The session, I believe, is aimed at moving DRR-CC-SDG linkages at the operational level. Among the recommendations from panelists included Integrated Risk Management, this means using an integrated approach to reduce disaster risk, particularly by addressing climate change and ecosystem management and restoration; forecast-based financing, which  is an innovative approach using the scientific data to indicate elevated risks and then release humanitarian funding for actions before a potential disaster (learn more about forecast-based financing); and strengthening social protection mechanisms. Based from the discussions, there is still much to be done to really understand and put into practice these linkages and having that make a difference in people's lives.

At the local level, communities will not be asking whether their interventions are contributing to SFDRR priority areas 1, 2, 3 or 4 nor will they lose sleep over how we will be able to attain SDG 11. Rather, they are asking,

  • "Will we have enough food to feed our families during the next harvest?"
  • "Will we ever be able to go back to our houses and lead normal lives again?"
  • "Will I be able to save my family when the next super typhoon comes?"

There is still much work to be done in increasing awareness and understanding at the local level that disasters can be mitigated if not prevented; that climate change is real and we need to change current behavior and practices to mitigate emissions and adapt to climate effects; and development initiatives can help increase or decrease the disaster risk of communities. In this respect, civil society organizations (CSOs) have served as knowledge brokers who can simplify concepts in a way that can aid understanding of communities for more informed decision-making and action planning. They have also facilitated problem analysis and action planning either towards developing community emergency preparedness plans or designing disaster mitigation activities. However, these initiatives need to be scaled up and across so we can reach as many communities as fast as we possibly can, and this would entail a whole-of-society approach. Here, CSOs can help broker linkages among at-risk communities and sectors, government, academe, scientific community and the private sector. Such a gargantuan task will not only necessitate the involvement of various stakeholder groups but would require international and regional cooperation. The Thematic Session on Strengthening Regional Cooperation for SFDRR Implementation in Asia tackles how regional and sub-regional mechanisms and platforms have aided the implementation of past global agreements on DRR such as the Hyogo Framework for Action.

Thematic Session on Strengthening Regional Cooperation for SFDRR Implementation in Asia

The session opened with a presentation from Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP). She emphasized on the need for regional cooperation because countries have shared vulnerabilities and shared capacities. She cited the regional cooperation on using satellite technology for DRR; regional dialogues on post-earthquake reconstruction; and establishment of the Asia Pacific Disaster Information Management Center in Iran, among others. She further emphasized that, "DRR is not a choice but an elective imperative."

Other subregional and regional groups reported on their accomplishments. They are:

  1. Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat - an international organization established with a vision to promote peace and common prosperity among the People’s Republic of China (China), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK/South Korea)
  2. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia
  3. ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community
  4. Economic Cooperation Organisation - a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization, which includes Iran, Pakistan, Turkey,  Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as member States
  5. Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) - an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia

Their modes and areas of cooperation include policy coordination, information sharing, capacity building, and cooperative projects. Disaster Risk Reduction Network-Philippines member, Soleil Santoalla of Consortium for People's Development-Disaster Response, Inc (CDPPDR), participated in the session and raised the need for regional cooperation mechanisms to facilitate harmonization of global frameworks on DRR, Climate Change and SDGs and mobilize support of developed countries to developing countries in relation to this global frameworks.

For national CSOs in the Philippines such as CDP, DRRNet and CPDDR, there is a need to build capacity on how to engage and maximize regional and sub-regional DRR mechanisms such as the UNESCAP and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. Regional CSO networks, such as the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN), and International NGOs with regional work, such as Christian Aid and Oxfam, can certainly help bridge the knowledge gap and facilitate national CSOs' linkages to these mechanisms for a more strategic engagement.#

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