Remarks by SRSG Mizutori, IDF Development Impact of Risk Analytics webinar

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reductiion
Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reductiion

Remarks by SRSG Mizutori

IDF Development Impact of Risk Analytics webinar

Monday 30th November

Good morning/ good afternoon/ good evening to everyone participating in this webinar.

The level of interest in the topic is very encouraging.

At the outset, I would like to offer a very sincere thank you to all the members of the IDF Risk Modelling Steering Group, its Co-Chairs Ian Branagan and Marc Gordon, and Nick Moody for their excellent work in developing this important report.

Timing is everything.

And, sadly, this report could not have arrived at a better moment while the world is struggling on multiple fronts to cope with both the pandemic and the climate emergency.

The fact that we have managed to allow disaster risk to thrive to such an extent, is reason enough to question why our understanding of disaster risk has been overtaken by so many events; events which could have been prevented or at least greatly mitigated if we had acted on the many early warnings.

It is difficult not to conclude that managing disasters is still the preferred default option for politicians rather than living up to the commitment made when the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted five years ago.

That commitment was to move decisively away from disaster management to managing risk itself.

Let us hope that we have their attention now and that there is a greater understanding of the systemic nature of disaster risk as a result of COVID-19 which has demonstrated clearly how risk is embedded in everyday life-line services including health, education, trade, transportation and social safety nets.

We are now in an era where weak risk governance can no longer be tolerated given the cascading impacts which flow from the interplay of many risk drivers including climate change, biological hazards, poverty, environmental destruction and rapid urbanization, to mention a few.

As outlined in UNDRR’s 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, we are fast approaching the point where we may not be able to mitigate or repair impacts from realised and cascading systemic risks. 

Analysis that is informed by the power of quantitative and qualitative approaches to understanding risk has become more important than ever.

Achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement, is contingent upon our ability to furnish decision makers with risk insights that allow effective pathways to resilience to be determined with confidence.

Risk analytics can support the development and strengthening of national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction, and revised National Adaptation Plans, both of which have a deadline of 31 December this year.

Innovative collaboration that bridges sectors and domains, such as the IDF, is essential, as are increased efforts to invest resources at scale to support these transitions.

The Development Impact of Risk Analytics report captures this thinking and makes concrete recommendations, key among them being:

    • The creation of a strategic fund to support efforts at national level to develop risk analytics functionality on a sustainable basis, conforming to the Global Risk Assessment Framework.

    • The creation of a public-private entity / programme to deliver the capacity building aspect of the fund including provision for sustainable risk education and communication programmes.

    • The accelerated adoption of open risk modelling platforms, principles and standards, and embedding them into public sector and development agency procurement processes.

This report demonstrates the central importance of risk analytics to the task of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals including eradication of poverty and hunger, creating sustainable cities and communities, and action on climate.

It also brings to the fore that public-private partnership is fundamental to addressing the challenges of disaster risk reduction and building resilience to disasters.

As I have said, timing is everything.

Politicians have never been more acutely aware of the consequences of ignoring or downplaying disaster risk.

Risk analytics must be nurtured and developed as part of the recovery from the pandemic; and the build up to COP26 provides an excellent opportunity to advocate for this with the support of this excellent report. 

I thank you and look forward very much to the discussions.

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