Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction

Apr 16, 2015

‘If it isn’t risk-informed, it isn’t sustainable development’

On 18 March, the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) culminated in the official adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). UNDP was actively engaged in this process, both in the months of development leading up to it and at the WCDRR itself.

UNDP welcomed the new framework and congratulated Member States and UNISDR on managing this process. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator who led UNDP’s delegation, also expressed UNDP’s appreciation to Japan and to Prime Minister Abe in particular for hosting the Conference and for remaining such an important global leader on DRR.

A big part of UNDP's advocacy campaign over the last year has been to emphasize that disasters are the result of poor, risk-blind development choices, and to encourage partners to adopt a risk-informed approach to sustainable development. 

Substantially, the Framework consists of four priority areas relevant to the business of disaster risk reduction at the country level: (1) understanding disaster risk; (2) strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; (3) investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; and (4) enhancing disaster preparedness for an effective response and with a view to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. UNDP’s support to the process has led to the inclusion of risk governance and recovery as two of the four dedicated priority areas. 

UNDP announced at Sendai the development of a new 10-year global programme called ‘5-10-50’. This programme, which is still under development and targeting an early 2016 release, will see UNDP support 50 countries with comprehensive risk-informed development. Further information on this programme will be made available in the months ahead as we continue the development phase.

Across Pakistan, communities struggle with the threats posed by the environment in which they live. Many areas of the country are prone to natural disaster, from drought to flood, to devastating earthquakes, and as the world’s climate shifts, Pakistan is expected to be severely affected. We support Government and communities in preparing for these threats. In 2014 we piloted Community-Based Disaster Risk Management in 30 communities in KP, Balochistan and Sindh provinces. Through this, vulnerable communities learned to identify hazards and risks, and analyse their own vulnerabilities. We helped them develop risk maps and plan preparedness and response, and supported the adaptation and response measures they identified. Community groups were trained in First Aid and Search & Rescue and equipped to develop into an emergency response force at the frontlines of disaster. As a result, local women and men became active leaders in protecting their communities instead of relying solely on outside support for emergency relief.

The mountainous areas of Gilgit and Chitral districts are increasingly vulnerable to devastating glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF). We work with the Government of Pakistan and the Adaptation Fund to reduce this environmental risk. In 2014, we strengthened district disaster emergency response cells and government departments, helped prepare risk reduction plans in the worst affected valleys (Bagrot and Bindo Gol), and improved the GLOF monitoring system. Meteorological observatories were established in these valleys, and trained community volunteers now regularly record and analyse data.

UNDP’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy is closely aligned with national policy and the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP). In 2014, we helped the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) establish the NDMP Implementation Unit to monitor implementation, improve coordination, and mobilize resources from international development partners. With the NDMA we ran the National Institute for Disaster Management, which trains officials working in disaster management.

Effective response to disaster is dependent on timely information. In 2014, we helped the Pakistan Meteorological Department to develop and field-test an early warning system using FM radio to broadcast messages even to remote and inaccessible regions during the 2014 monsoon season. 

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