Scaling up DRR in Humanitarian/Development Contexts

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction


Opening Remarks by SRSG Mami Mizutori
Global Consultative Workshop – Scaling up DRR in Humanitarian/Development Contexts
27 February 2020, Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you all for being here today. It is my pleasure to welcome you to this important workshop on Scaling up Disaster Risk Reduction in Humanitarian/Development Contexts.

Around the world we are witnessing the impact of climate change. We know weather related disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense and more unpredictable.  

Climate-fueled disasters were the number one driver of internal displacement over the last decade – forcing an estimated 20 million people a year from their homes.

These events take a significant toll on people and societies - eroding their ability to cope, rendering them increasingly vulnerable to future calamities, and resulting in enormous economic losses and human suffering. In the absence of a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we can only expect climate related disasters to increase.

Our organisation, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, works to help countries put in place the measures they need to reduce disaster risks and also avoid the creation of new risks. This is challenging everywhere but perhaps nowhere more so than countries that are already facing crises.

Many fragile and humanitarian contexts are characterized by a dangerous combination of conflict, exposure to natural hazards and limited coping capacities. There is often a high reliance on international humanitarian assistance to ensure populations can access basic services, such as food, education and shelter.   

Most of you attending today are working now or have worked in humanitarian or fragile contexts.  You are fully aware that in these countries, vulnerabilities are high and capacities are low. Groups such as women and girls, persons living with disabilities and the poor and disenfranchised not only suffer most from civil strife but are also the least likely to be able to withstand the impact of a disaster event. Their vulnerability due to conflict, and their limited coping mechanisms make them highly susceptible to climate and disaster risks.

Last year in Syria we saw internally displaced camps flooded by rain, forcing people into the open.

After two years of severe drought, communities in Somalia were struggling to keep their livestock alive and to earn a living. Yet, when it finally rained in April 2018, it brought not relief but more hardship in the form of historic floods.

In Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced populations are facing the lingering consequences of one of the worst droughts to affect the war-torn country. 

In the decade between 2004 and 2014, nearly 60% of global disaster-related deaths occurred in the 30 most fragile states. There are clear overlaps between disaster risks and protracted humanitarian crisis, yet few humanitarian appeals include DRR or climate adaption efforts.

We know that people living in fragile and humanitarian contexts need more help to reduce their vulnerability to the impact of disasters and increase their capacity to cope and recover.

This is why we have convened today’s meeting. We believe there are opportunities to do more in countries facing the dual challenges of conflict and disasters.

One of the advances we have seen in recent years concerns better alignment between humanitarian and development actors in protracted crises.  The idea is not new.  However, unlike previous efforts, the humanitarian, development and peace nexus now involves structural shifts that are changing how aid is planned and financed.

This New Way of Working sees longer planning timeframes and multi-year funding.  The aim now is to not only meet humanitarian needs but also to end needs by addressing the root causes and underlying factors that fuel the crisis.

Recognizing the potential brought on by the New Way of Working, and capitalizing on the changes taking place, we believe this is also an opportunity to not only end needs but also reduce risks for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

That is why UNDRR launched last year a project to bring the worlds of humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction closer together, aiming to lay the foundation for sustainable development. The objective is to provide concrete recommendations on integrating DRR into humanitarian response, including in contexts where the humanitarian, development and peace nexus is being implemented.

You will shortly hear more about the genesis of this work and the findings to date. Today‘s workshop is designed to solicit your expertise and seek your collaboration in making sure the recommendations we put forth are directly applicable to your work and will drive up efforts to reduce disaster risks in crisis settings.

Thank you again for your commitment to this project and to our common goal of resilience for all.

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