Regional workshop for the promotion of the regional implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction - Disaster risk reduction for sustainable development

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Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
Organizer(s)
League of Arab States
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Arab States
Saudi Arabia - government

The Arab region joins the rest of the world in facing an increase in natural hazards. The region is characterized by its harsh environment and has limited resilience to natural hazards events, which results in an increase in the number of natural disasters in the region. These disasters result from a group of factors including the increase in population, increase of unplanned urban growth and climate change.

Despite the frequency, impacts and continued occurrence of disasters, the culture of disaster response is dominant for reducing risks in the Arab region. Although there is great interest in disaster response, it is not the systematic approach to deal with disasters in the long term, especially if we examine some statistics that reveal that the cost of reconstruction after the occurrence of big disasters at the global level has increased by 20% yearly during the past two decades.

Realizing the challenges that face Arab countries and the importance in dealing with these challenges in a concerted and systematic manner, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment in its twentieth session issued resolution (K295-DA20-22/12/2008) that included the following:

1. That cooperation with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the follow-up on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action becomes a permanent agenda item at the meetings of the Joint Committee on Environment and Development for the Arab Region and the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment and its Executive Bureau.

2. Called on Arab countries to work towards the fulfillment of its commitments in implementing the HFA including the establishment of national platforms or committees for disaster risk reduction or other coordination mechanisms, as a mechanism for coordination that includes stakeholders, that acts as an advocate for disaster risk reduction issues at all levels, and coordinates, analyzes and provide advice on issues of priority that needs coordinated efforts. In implement the latter, countries are requested to coordinate bilaterally with the Technical Secretariat of the Council and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat.

3. That the Technical Secretariat of the Council holds a regional workshop on disaster risk reduction during the first quarter of 2009 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the Presidency for Meteorology and Environment and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat, with the objective of preparing for the Second Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, due to take place in Geneva 16-19 June 2009.

4. Calling on Arab countries that did not present its national reports on the progress made towards the implementation of the HFA, to take prompt action in this regard, and called on the Technical Secretariat to coordinate and cooperate with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat in producing a regional Arab report on the same subject.

To this effect, this regional workshop aims at developing a regional framework for cooperation in the long term related to disaster risk reduction, and discuss needs and priorities to promote disaster risk reduction at the local, national and regional levels.

Objectives of the Workshop:
1. Prepare for the contribution of Arab countries to the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction due to take place in June 2009.
2. Review the regional report on the progress made towards the achievement of the HFA and promotion of disaster risk reduction in the Arab region.
3. Support disaster risk reduction efforts and initiatives at the local and national levels through the provision of opportunities for cooperation between different stakeholders in the Arab region.
4. Support the development of main tools for disaster risk reduction such as the development of guidelines to evaluate risks in the region.
5. Development of an Arab strategy to integrate disaster risk reduction in sustainable development policies and plans.

Main Themes
1. Disaster Risk Reduction in the Arab Region "Challenges and Opportunities"
2. Environment and sustainable development and their linkages to disaster risk reduction.
3. Impacts of environmental changes and reducing its risks (climate change – drought – floods).

Methodology
1. Undertake consultation between participants during the workshop in relation to the preparation of an Arab strategy for disaster risk reduction.
2. Organize sessions in specialized topics that reflect the workshop main themes.
3. Ensure active participation of all participants through working group discussions.

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