Seven targets being considered for new HFA
GENEVA, 18 November 2014 - An informal Working Group on Targets and Indicators for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction provided a review of its work to date yesterday to a gathering of government representatives negotiating the text of the first major document of the post-2015 development agenda.
The open-ended informal working group was formed at the request of the co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Ambassador Päivi Kairamo of Finland and Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi of Thailand.
The work is focused on devising targets and a system of indicators for monitoring and reporting in coherence with the sustainable development agenda and goals, and the expected new climate change agreement. Subject to agreement by UN Member States, they will be included in the revised Hyogo Framework for Action, the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction which will be adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March 2015.
Over the last ten years, some two billion people have been affected by disasters, over one million have died and economic losses have been estimated at $1.7 trillion, according to CRED’s EM-DAT international data base.
Ambassador Wayne McCook, Jamaica, reported that seven targets are now under consideration following four meetings of the group to date and that “the context and percentages will require further consideration to determine the implications for national governments. Regarding timeframe, the group suggests a timeframe of 15 years to align with the Sustainable Development Goals, and related international agreements.”
Target 1 seeks to reduce mortality by a given percentage in function of the number of hazardous events. Absolute mortality figures would be provided by year, including missing persons. Several contributions to yesterday’s debate emphasized the necessity of disaggregating mortality data by age, gender and persons living with disability.
Target 2 seeks to reduce the number of affected people by a given percentage considering affected people as “a combination of the number of injured, the number of people evacuated, the number of people relocated, and houses damaged and houses destroyed.” Ambassador McCook noted that these data are available in the majority of existing disaster loss data bases.
Target 3 seeks to reduce disaster economic loss by a given percentage in relation to GDP per country. Direct economic loss should include “loss of livestock, loss of livelihood and crops where data is available.”
Target 4 focusses on reducing damage to health and educational facilities but the Working Group “suggests that further consultations are required to define or broaden the scope of target 4 to cover other critical infrastructure and that ‘disruption’ or ‘closure’ rather than ‘damage’ be the focus.”
Target 5 seeks to increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies and the Group suggests “the inclusion of climate change adaptation strategies and other relevant sustainable development strategies in this target in order to strengthen coherence with post-2015 agendas.”
The Group deliberated two new targets not included in the Zero Draft of the Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction which is the main subject of negotiation at the Plenary.
A possible sixth target would focus on international cooperation and global partnership to support the implementation of the framework through strengthening national capacities and technology transfer and increasing flows of assistance, including finance, from developed to developing countries.
Ambassador McCook said a seventh target has also been proposed “to increase the number of people, including vulnerable people, with access to early warning and risk information” by a given percentage.
Speaking to a Technical Workshop later in the day, Ambassador McCook said that a number of States had underlined that further consideration of the targets would be required to fully examine implications for national governments.
Another area the Working Group is examining is whether or not to allow for a period of ten years to establish baselines against which to measure progress. After four meetings since it was convened in October, Ambassador McCook said “the working group is at an early stage. There’s a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Technical Workshop was moderated by Ms. Maria del Pilar Cornejo, Minister, National Secretariat of Risk Management, Ecuador, who said there was an overall desire to avoid coming up with a complicated systems of targets and indicators which would make the reporting and monitoring process too heavy and distract from implementation.
Japan’s Ambassador in Charge of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Kenichi Suganuma agreed that the process should not become too heavy. He emphasized that the ultimate targets are to reduce loss of life and economic losses. It was therefore essential for each country to develop reliable statistics as a basis for implementation of the targets and to continue promoting disaster risk reduction policy.
Paraguay’s Minister of National Emergency, Joaquín Roa Burgos, said his country was working to give more attention to risk management and targets and indicators would help that effort. He said the that private sector must play an important role with the public authorities to avoid the creation of new risk.
Mozambique’s Ambassador Pedro Comissário Afonso, said he represented a disaster prone country dealing with the effects on a daily basis. He said targets and indicators should be ambitious in nature but doable and achievable and limited in number.
Contributors to the Technical Workshop on ‘Indicators, Monitoring and Review Process for the Post-2015 Framework’ recommended analytical metrics, disaggregated data by age, sex, people with disabilities, and ethnicity, coherence with monitoring of sustainable development, environment loss accounting and universal applicability of indicators as essential features of the proposed monitoring system.
Contextualisation of any monitoring system to local realities was considered important; however, changing nature and dimension of disasters over time and space was identified as a challenge. Adequate dissemination of information among stakeholders at all levels was accepted as a necessary condition to gather the required information.
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