In the past year, we have seen that the political ambition to support vulnerable communities has grown. As an international community we have improved our understanding of the positive impact of pre-arranged risk finance and having anticipatory measures in place in case of disasters. At the same time, we need to push even more for strong implementation and impact, to make this vision of support for vulnerable communities possible.
Investing in reducing disaster and climate risk is vital for the sustainable development and the future resilience of the citizens of SIDS. We must all come together towards implementing the Sendai Framework so that this becomes a reality.
It is now seven years since the International Conference on Small Island Developing States took place in Samoa and adopted the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway, known as the SAMOA Pathway. The Pacific has become a role model on how to integrate disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and sustainable development goals. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, in the context of the mid-term review of the Sendai Framework, which has just started and will culminate in the year 2023, is now looking at how best to support SIDS to overcome the specific constraints they are facing in reducing their disaster losses.
The compound effects of these events with the COVID-19 pandemic during the last 18-months, clearly demonstrates the need for greater investment in disaster risk reduction and a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk management. Europe has seen a number of dramatic events across its territory, many of which exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. Climate extreme events such as flooding and wild fires have caused great trauma across different regions of Europe, as seen with the dramatic forest fires in Greece and the Mediterranean basin, floods affecting Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg this summer and only recently in parts of France, to name but a few. Other natural disasters such as the volcanic eruption severely affecting the Canary Islands demonstrate the very complex risk landscape across the European region and the extent to which solidarity and cooperation in these difficult times is critical.
Climate change is undermining the ability to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, says the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Ever increasing numbers of people are losing their homes and livelihoods in extreme weather events, such as those which displaced 30 million people last year. There has been a shocking escalation of world hunger to the point where over two billion people struggled to feed themselves adequately in 2020 and 811 million people face chronic hunger. As successive FAO reports have demonstrated, a doubling of disaster events over the last twenty years has had a huge impact on food production, especially in developing countries with strong dependence on the agricultural sector, not least through drought, pests, floods, storms, heatwaves, and rising sea levels.
International cooperation to developing countries to support their implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk is the focus of this year’s International Day. The Sendai Framework is the global blueprint adopted in 2015 by all UN Member States including the United Arab Emirates to reduce disaster losses and disaster risk. Enhancing international cooperation is one of the seven global targets of the Sendai Framework, and now is an excellent moment to reflect on this target when the world is trying to cope with planetary emergencies triggered by risk drivers such as global warming, the COVID-19 pandemic, drought and desertification, and increasing poverty in all parts of the globe.