[by Farah Kabir | 3rd WCDRR Sendai | 14 March 2015 | Day 1]
It was a beautiful experience to see the snow fall in the morning, though a little cold for me. At the GNDR meeting most of us from the South got excited over the snow fall.
There is excitement too about 2015 and it comes with apprehension, given that 2015 is marked for major decisions on Disaster Risk Reduction, Post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals and for Climate Change negotiations. It is overwhelming for the development community as well as for policy makers both nationally and internationally. Understandably so, as it will impact on the lives of people in general but for development the issues are the poor, the marginalised and inclusion challenges impacting on communities that struggle to find a voice in these negotiations.
The first day of the conference at Sendai, Japan was trying to find one's way and come to grasp with what is about to come this week. The Prep Comm session discussed a text that appeared a little softer than what had been shared in Geneva in January, as a lead up to the WCDRR. There was a lot of discussion around the mechanism for review and formation of the team to undertake the review. There appears to be discussion about global accountability and little clarity about accountability at the local level, to the communities. Well, civil society members are keeping their radar up and trying to think of alternatives.
As an effort to keep the alternatives developing, the first regional dialogues of GNDR were held on the 14th. They were held at the People's Pavilion, away from the main conference venue. Attended by different members of civil society organizations and NGOs, there were lively discussions on how CSOs connected to communities, bringing stories from communities and sharing research and development of models that have given results, as well as being able to do advocacy with organizations and national governments. It was agreed that there is a need for greater coordination and alignment among civil society however more so at governmental level.
We left on the note that we require to come together at a regional level to work through the CSO roles and related activities. Explore inter-regional dialogues, which also meant going back to our countries and engage with those in the poverty, climate, and DRR groups –including women's rights groups so as to together reflect on what the HFA2 and other frameworks mean for us at a national level.
We will need to be vigilant for the next few days and hold up the interest of the poor and marginalised, emphasizing on gender equality.