Towards Coherent Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy Development, Implementation and Monitoring among SAARC Member States
SAARC Disaster Management Centre
South Asia is the fastest growing region in the world with growth set to step up to 7.0 percent and, despite a high base of US$ 3.5 trillion, with an upward trajectory. Importantly, the average human development index in the region increased by 45.3 percent from 1990-2017, making it the region with the fastest growth in human development globally. Investments into new and existing infrastructure is expected to exceed a trillion dollar in the coming years. Home to a quarter of the world population, the region also benefits from a huge demographic dividend, with a population median age of 25 years.
At the same time, South Asia is one of the most disaster-prone regions globally. Since the turn of this century, over 1500 disasters of a given magnitude have occurred in the region, resulting in the death of over 0.25 million people. The resulting number of cumulatively affected people at 1.25 billion accounts for one-third of the globally affected people in this duration. Within the affected areas and communities, disasters have disproportionate impacts resulting in income, assets and well-being losses widening inequalities. Among developing regions, the gender gap is also the widest in South Asia (16.3 percent) magnifying the vicious circle of poverty, inequality and disaster risk.
NEED FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
A growing economy and high population, together with an increasing spate of disasters, points to the need for preventing the population from risk exposure and saving the economic gains that the countries in the region have painstakingly attained over years.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is the global blueprint for disaster risk reduction (DRR). Adopted at the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in March 2015, it was the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven global targets and four priorities for actions. The Sendai Framework reinforces the shift from managing disasters to managing risk, and also establishes resilience-building as a shared vision of the 2030 Agenda.
Specifically, the Sendai Framework calls for strong political leadership, commitment, and involvement of all stakeholders at all levels from local to national and international to pursue a goal to:
“prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political and institutional measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and thus strengthen resilience”.
Pursuit of such a comprehensive goal, requires a strategic approach and a well-defined plan to ensure efforts are coordinated, while still being inclusive of whole-of-society, and to ensure resources are efficiently used across all sectors and by all stakeholders. Reflecting this foundational requirement, Target E of the Sendai Framework calls to “substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020”. This precise target is shared with indicators of SDG 1 that calls for an end to poverty, SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 13 on climate action.
Within the guidance and spirit of the Sendai Framework, the UN member states have requested the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to continue its mandate of facilitating the implementation, review and monitoring of the Framework. Accordingly, the UNDRR provides training on disaster risk reduction with affiliated organizations to countries and relevant stakeholders to improve understanding of the Sendai Framework, including planning for its implementation and use of relevant monitoring tools.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. SAARC comprises of eight Member States: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Among SAARC areas of cooperation is a focus on Environment, Climate Change and ‘Natural Disasters’. The Heads of State or Government of the Member States of SAARC, at successive Summits since 1987, have reiterated the need to strengthen and intensify regional cooperation to preserve, protect and manage the diverse and fragile eco-systems of the region including the need to address the challenges posed by climate change and disasters. The Leaders noted that the development process and prospects of the Member States were being severely undermined by these challenges.
Realizing the importance and need for the timely provision of relief support in humanitarian emergencies, the SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC-IU) has been set up at Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) Campus, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India in November 2016, with a vision to be a Centre of Excellence for regional cooperation and specialised service delivery to Member States on DRR, response and recovery for sustainable development.
SDMC(IU) is expected to give a fillip to regional cooperation for holistic management of disaster risk in the SAARC region. It serves the Member States by providing policy advice, technical support on system development, capacity building services and training. The Centre facilitates exchange of information and expertise for effective and efficient management of disaster risk. As needed, the Centre undertakes projects and programmes to serve the needs of the Member States. It seeks to expand from a 'knowledge sharing' organisation to an ‘action-response' organisation and develop Standard Operating Procedures, tools, guidelines and methodologies for different types and phases of disasters.
The overall purpose of this workshop is to strengthen capacities for coherent disaster risk reduction strategy development, implementation and monitoring at regional, national and local level (Sendai Framework Target E) among SAARC Member States through shared lessons learned and introduction to latest guidance and tools.
Overall, the training workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to:
- Refresh understanding of concepts and trends in disaster risk reduction, risk-informed development, climate change adaptation and sustainable development.
- Share participating countries’ lessons and recommended approaches for developing and implementing national DRR strategies in coherence with development, climate change and sectoral plans and strategies.
- Identify gaps and opportunities to ‘review and re-align’ current DRR strategies and implementation action plans to inform a regional DRR framework.
- Learn from global and regional disaster risk reduction case studies, including governance, finance and planning.
- Strengthen understanding of the institutional arrangements and partnerships needed for Sendai Framework implementation at national and/or regional, local and sectoral level.
- Plan the way forward at regional and national level to scale up collaboration to reduce the risks and impacts of disasters.
After completing this workshop, the participants will be able to:
- ‘Make the case for risk-informed development and Disaster Risk Reduction’: share deepened understanding of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (goal, outcome, targets, priorities, principles) as an imperative for addressing climate change and sustainable development.
- Understand recommended approaches and requirements for developing, implementing and monitoring national and local DRR strategies in line with Sendai Framework Target E related to SDGs 1, 11 and 13.
- Use or adapt the workshop tools and approach to ‘review and re-align’ ongoing strategic planning, implementation and monitoring processes at various levels.
- Understand mechanisms and approaches for implementation (financing, M&E, capacity development, legal and regulatory frameworks, partnerships and institutional arrangements) of DRR strategies, is enhanced among Member states
- Identify ways forward to update and align the SAARC regional DRM framework to the Sendai Framework