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United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2018 annual report 

The 2018 Annual Report provides an overview of the results achieved by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) towards its vision, the sustainable reduction of disaster risk and losses for a sustainable future.  It is a useful read for those involved in emergency management reports Roger Gomm for CRJ.

2018 was another costly year both in loss of life and livelihoods as a result of disasters. Wildfires across Europe and North America, earthquakes and tsunamis in South-east Asia, floods across Asia, heatwaves in South Asia, drought in South America and Africa, landslides in Africa and Asia and a destructive volcano in Central America, all increased global awareness regarding the need to invest in disaster risk reduction.

This 2018 Annual Report provides an overview of the results achieved by UNISDR towards its vision, the sustainable reduction of disaster risk and losses for a sustainable future, vis-a`-vis its guiding documents, the UNISDR Strategic Framework 2016-2021, the UNISDR Work Programme 2016-2019 and its Results Frameworks.

As recognised by Sendai Framework, Regional Platforms are critical instruments for advancing disaster risk reduction, in order to forge partnerships, periodically assess progress on implementation and share practice and knowledge on disaster risk-informed policies, programmes and investments, as well as to promote the integration of disaster risk management in other relevant sectors. In 2018, UNISDR organised Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia- Pacific, Americas-Caribbean, Europe and a combined Africa-Arab regional platform in Tunisia. UNISDR also organised a sub-regional platform for the Central-Asia South Caucasus region.

The Regional Platforms, coupled with data from the Sendai Framework Monitor informed global processes, notably the 2018 High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development. Key messages that emerged from all platforms in 2018, were the need for greater focus on target (e) of the Sendai Framework, increasing the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies and the importance of inclusion.

In March 2018, UNISDR launched the Sendai Framework Monitor, a system for tracking progress against both the 38 globally agreed indicators of the Sendai Framework and custom national indicators. To reach the 88 countries using the Sendai Framework Monitor by the end of the year, UNISDR delivered extensive training at global, regional and national levels to a wide variety of stakeholders.

The UNISDR Risk Reduction 2015-2030 report sets out priorities for action. There is a clear need for focused action within and across sectors by States at local, national, regional and global levels in the following four priority areas.

Priority 1: Understanding disaster risk

Disaster risk management needs to be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment

Priority 2: Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk

Disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels is vital to the management of disaster risk reduction in all sectors and ensuring the coherence of national and local frameworks of laws, regulations and public policies that, by defining roles and responsibilities, guide, encourage and incentivise the public and private sectors to take action and address disaster risk

Priority 3: Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience

Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment. These can be drivers of innovation, growth and job creation. Such measures are cost-effective and instrumental to save lives, prevent and reduce losses and ensure effective recovery and rehabilitation

Priority 4: Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

Experience indicates that disaster preparedness needs to be strengthened for more effective response and ensure capacities are in place for effective recovery. Disasters have also demonstrated that the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, which needs to be prepared ahead of the disaster, is an opportunity to ‘Build Back Better’ through integrating disaster risk reduction measures. Women and persons with disabilities should publicly lead and promote gender-equitable and universally accessible approaches during the response and reconstruction phases

It should be recognised that UNISDR remains 99 per cent funded through extra-budgetary resources from voluntary contributions, with only one post currently funded from the UN Regular Budget. With the wider impact of climate change being felt globally, there is a clear need to allocate additional resources, which was agreed in 2018 by Member States in the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.

The full report is available here

Roger Gomm QPM is an expert in security and resilience and a member of CRJ’s Advisory Panel.

Image: pat138241|123rf 

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