SRSG Mizutori's remarks at COP-26 side event: Getting ahead of climatic disasters: Know, Predict, Warn, Act

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Remarks by SRSG Mizutori

Getting ahead of climatic disasters: Know, Predict, Warn, Act 

COP 26 - 8 November

The impact of the climate emergency on our lives and development gains is clear. A warming planet will increase the intensity and frequency of disasters and extreme events, already at unprecedented levels.  

We urgently need to accelerate action to reduce the impact of climate-related disasters. The world needs greater investment in climate change adaptation as called for by the Paris Agreement, and in national and local DRR strategies as called for by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Resilience Gap between rich and poor nations is growing wider and nowhere is this more apparent than in the lack of climate finance to support adaptation needs in developing countries and the deployment of multi-hazard early warning systems.

The UN Environment Programme’s new Adaptation Gap Report estimates that adaptation costs in developing countries are up to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows. Existing commitments on climate finance have still not been honored fully and pale by comparison with fossil fuel subsidies.

Another concern is that COVID-19 recovery stimulus packages are in danger of becoming lost opportunities to build resilience to disasters.

We need to pivot from a response focus to a focus on prevention and anticipatory action, while also increasing access to multi-hazard early warning systems.

In order to do this, we need to understand of all risk drivers that interact with climate change and amplify the impact of an extreme weather event. We are talking about weak risk governance, poverty, the destruction of the natural world, and weakness in critical infrastructure.

This is especially important in protracted humanitarian contexts where vulnerability is compounded due to the dire combination of conflict and disaster risks.

UNDRR is accelerating its efforts to help countries understand and address the underlying causes of risk and, to manage and reduce them.

We have launched a Comprehensive Climate and Disaster Risk Management programme that takes a systemic approach towards disaster and climate risk management. The programme promotes fit-for-purpose design and implementation of risk assessments, policy, and planning. Currently, over 15 LDCs and SIDS are benefiting from this programme, and we will expand it to cover all LDCs and SIDS.

We are also working in humanitarian contexts through the Global Risk Assessment Framework, combining climate data, and other elements of risk, including vulnerability and exposure data to inform development and humanitarian planning. This initiative aims to provide humanitarian and development actors with a shared understanding of climate and disaster risks to inform their planning processes.

The metrics and data generated by the Sendai Framework Monitor, is currently used by over 150 countries providing valuable insights into how much are we losing because of disasters and extreme events, and what needs to be done to reduce this risk.

UNDRR and WMO have jointly launched a Centre of Excellence for Climate and Disaster Resilience which will promote a comprehensive understanding of risk across multiple countries.

I would like to conclude with a strong call to action to increase support for integrated DRR and climate change adaptation. This requires that we:

We need to dramatically raise ambition for reducing and managing the impact of climate change by increasing financing for climate adaptation, there needs to be a 50/50 share between adaptation and mitigation in finance flows.

We need to significantly increase support for averting, minimizing and addressing losses and damages.​ It is critical that countries get technical support to address climate related losses and damages. UNDRR looks forward to contributing its risk reduction expertise and experience to the operationalization of the Santiago network.

We need to accelerate predictable and risk-informed investments and financing based on a long-term vision.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to an enriching discussion on how we can learn from each other and make progress on reducing disaster risk in a world full of complex challenges.   

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