Disaster displacement "chronic" in Asia
GENEVA, 9 July, 2018 - Government ministers and civil servants from across Asia and the Pacific are back at their desks this week with a fresh mandate to accelerate action on reducing disaster losses and disaster displacement as extreme weather continues across the region.
The importance of the outcomes of the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR2018) is underlined by the evacuation of millions of people in Japan in recent days to escape flooding and landslides which have claimed over 100 lives to date.
Millions of lives will also be disrupted when Super Typhoon Maria makes landfall this week in Japan, Taiwan and China. Strong preparedness measures are in place but the disaster losses are likely to be high.
In her closing address tio the conference on Friday in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mami Mizutori, the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk reduction, said that based on the concerns raised by participants, disaster risk reduction strategies at the local level “must focus on reducing the numbers of people affected by extreme weather events, if we are to tackle the now chronic problem of forced displacement across the region.”
In 2017, an estimated 11.4 million people were displaced from their homes across the region by disaster events as concern grows that climate change is amplifying the impact of extreme weather including droughts, heat waves, wildfires, storms and floods.
The 2018 AMCDRR culminated in the Ulaanbaatar Declaration which calls on governments and other stakeholders to urgently accelerate actions to develop and implement national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction, and to commit resources and promote investment in disaster risk reduction at the local level.
The Declaration highlights the need to promote dialogue and knowledge sharing across a broad range of national and local stakeholders, including universities, the private sector, and science and technology communities.
Together with the adoption of the Ulaanbaatar Declaration, a two-year Action Plan was agreed to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia. The Sendai Framework is the global plan adopted by UN member states in 2015 to reduce disaster losses.
“It is clear that it will be hard to eradicate poverty and eliminate hunger in parts of Asia if stronger action is not taken at local level to reduce disaster risk and ensure the protection of all sections of society particularly the poor,” said Ms. Mizutori, highlighting the need for an inclusive all-of-society approach to building disaster resilience that fully engages women, children and young people, older persons and people with disabilities.
The three-day Conference attracted 3,500 people to the Mongolian capital from over 1,500 organizations including representatives from more than 50 countries.
On behalf of the Government of Mongolia, host of the Conference, Deputy Prime Minister, Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan, said, “This conference has strengthened the resolve of Asian leaders and all stakeholders to implement the global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Our goal is to fund and increase the scope of our work in disaster prevention at local level.”
In the Ulaanbaatar Declaration the need to promote risk-sensitive public and private investments for building disaster resilience was highlighted; in particular, to make new infrastructure resilient and inclusive and design innovative solutions for affordable retrofitting of existing infrastructure.
The need to reinforce public-private partnerships in disaster risk reduction was also stressed, including the use of different disaster risk transfer and financing instruments such as insurance, forecast-based financing and social protection schemes.
At the closing ceremony the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Ms. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells announced that the Government of Australia will host the next Asian Ministerial Conference in Australia in 2020