Conclusions following the Joint Dialogue on “Accelerating Action to Reduce Climate-Related Disasters – The Road to COP27”
In order to call for greater political attention on the increase of climate-related disasters in Europe and globally ahead of the 27th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), the United Nations and European Parliament held an exchange with policy-makers and resilience experts to craft recommendations for the way forward. The meeting was hosted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Javi López, Lídia Pereira, Kira Peter-Hansen, and Dragoş Pîslaru. Further to contributions by the hosts, the meeting was opened by European Parliament Vice-President Eva Kaili and closed by MEP Bas Eickhout. It also included contributions from Elina Bardram, Acting Director in DG CLIMA, and MEP Barry Andrews.
The world has been put on alarm by successive reports and new evidence about the existential threats we are collectively facing. Two uncompromising reports from the IPCC this year removed all doubt that the planet is heading towards a climate emergency with more than three billion people – or around 40 per cent of the world's population – highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Similarly, the recent Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) finds the global number of disasters is expected to increase by 40 percent during the lifetime of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement.
Decisionmakers in Europe and around the world must pay heed to these warnings and act with urgency commensurate to the scale of the threat. The rising number of disasters is already taking its toll, with twice as many extreme weather events compared to 20 years ago. Furthermore, the crisis in Ukraine is triggering the greatest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. The war comes as global systems are still coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and grappling with a shrinking window in which to address the climate crisis. The global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic provide a clear reminder of the long-term impacts of complex and systemic risks. The direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic have revealed and reinforced inherent vulnerabilities across societal systems, borders and scales. An opportunity presents itself to build a more resilient society.
With six months to go until the COP27 climate talks, world leaders have a crucial window in which to rethink the ways we manage and prepare for climate-related disasters. We need to prepare for a world warmer than 1.5°C – a world characterized by an exponential increase in magnitude, intensity and frequency of extreme events fuelled by climate change. And this starts with dedicated strategies that reduce the risk of disasters. It also makes economic sense, considering that every €1 spent on prevention and preparedness, €15 or more will be saved on response and recovery.
Through the European Green Deal, the EU is well placed to lead on preventing and reducing the impacts of climate-related disasters at home and abroad. After last year’s lethal floods, forest fires and displacement, together with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and crisis in Ukraine, we need to step up resilience building. On 23-28 May, countries around the world met at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to address this systemic risk and discuss how to scale-up action to tackle the climate emergency. It resulted in the Bali Agenda for Resilience, with a seven-point plan on how we can move from risk to resilience. Scaling-up DRR to raise and meet the climate ambition is one of the key actions, which resonated with the messages coming out of the joint United Nations and European Parliament dialogue.
The recommendations set out by Members of the European Parliament, UNDRR and UNEP in the meeting on “Accelerating Action to Reduce Climate-Related Disasters – The Road to COP27” included:
- Scaling up integrated planning through comprehensive disaster and climate risk management at national and local levels;
- Advocating for increased technical assistance to countries to avert, minimize and address losses and damages;
- Using digital technology and innovation to improve early warning systems, climate scenario building and data collection;
- Enhancing public-private partnerships and transparency to promote greater trust in the decission-making system;
- Improving education to cultivate behavioural change and raise awareness amongst the population;
- Investing in ecosystem-based adaptation as nature-based solutions reduce risks;
- Increasing predictable and sustainable financing for risk-informed adaptation and to de-risk all investments, will all promote accelerated action to reduce climate-related disaster risks;
- And supporting funds for an equitable social transition to ensure a safer future for all.
A call was reiterated towards colleagues and peers to renew their commitments to shared values by making integrated planning for and implementing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation a core component of climate action. COP27 will be an opportunity to transform the outcomes from COP26 in Glasgow on adaptation and resilience into tangible technical assistance, particularly for low-income countries, including through putting the Santiago Network into action. Preparing for COP27 with an all-of-society inclusivity in mind will be imperative to secure an outcome that can stop the spiral of destruction.