SRSG Mizutori's Remarks at HLPF Side Event: Enhancing resilient and inclusive localization of the SDGs in the context of sustainable climate recovery

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Statement by Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

2022 HLPF Side Event: Enhancing Resilient and Inclusive Localization of the SDGs in the Context of Sustainable Climate Recovery

Organized by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt

It is my pleasure to join you today from NYC on the opening day of the High-Level Political Forum 2022. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt for the invitation to join this important event.

Without doubt, the climate emergency is the biggest threat facing the planet and humanity. 90% of major disasters of the last twenty years are related to climate emergency in one way or another. Their impacts make sustainable development unattainable.

Against this dire reality, and with adaptation and resilience being a strong focus of COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh this November, I firmly believe that reducing disaster risks, and avoiding the creation of new risks, is the key to enhancing sustainable development and building climate resilience.

That is why we need to urgently accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR at all levels, global, regional, national and of course local, which is the focus of our discussion today.  

Today, we are also zooming into the context of sustainable climate recovery. Indeed, post-disaster recovery is an opportunity, actually it is THE opportunity, to build back better to achieve sustainable development and climate objectives. This includes injecting risk considerations into a country’s development trajectory in the process of recovery, making risk-informed decisions for recovery.

There is a no more appropriate time to discuss this issue of ‘resilient recovery’, in particular at the local level, than NOW. We are right in the middle of a process to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the local governments and communities hard. We need to ask ourselves the question ‘Are we building back better from COVID towards a more resilient, greener and equitable society, or not?’.

And we also need to reconfirm a very important aspect of building back better, which is that ‘building back better’ or ‘recovering sustainably’ cannot be an afterthought. It is too late to start thinking about this and discussing this after a disaster. Countries must prepare to build back better before disaster comes. Countries must be prepared to build back better from disasters with policies, plans, and financing mechanisms in place before a disaster hits. And this is one of the four priorities of the Sendai Framework is to ‘Enhance disaster preparedness for effective response and to Build Back Better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.’

Furthermore, in target E of the Sendai Framework, countries committed to have both national AND local DRR strategies in place by the end of 2020. DRR strategies are an essential tool to integrate risk reduction into planning processes at all levels. They must include this critical aspect of preparing to build back better.  

It is crucial to understand that building back better does not mean only to build back our infrastructure that provide basic service. This is of course important. But building back better is much more than this. It means that we need to build back better so that our risk governance is better, and that the issue of inclusivity, gender equality is firmly embedded in DRR planning and strategies after a disaster, in which many times the most vulnerable are hit the most and struggle to recover. 

Just over a month ago, the 2022 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Bali, Indonesia. The overarching theme of the once in three-year global conference for DRR was: ‘From Risk to Resilience; Sustainable Development for all in a COVID-19 transformed world’.

One of the key messages of the “Bali Agenda for Resilience” was indeed that a human-rights based approach has to be taken in order to ensure that disaster recovery does not end up in reviving inequality and marginalization that create exposure and vulnerability to disasters.

And as local communities are on the front line in the recovery from COVID-19 and in the fight against climate change, there is an urgent need to build local capacity for disaster risk reduction and resilient recovery in cities the world over. The Making Cities Resilient 2030 initiative, launched last year by an alliance of organizations including UNDRR, UN-Habitat, World Bank and UNDP together with confederations of local governments such as UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), is a platform that provides cities with the support they need to build their resilience in the era of climate emergency. To date, 1,145 local governments have joined, including 8 cities in Egypt. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all local authorities to join this initiative and embark on a pathway to resilience.  

The International Recovery Platform, which brings the expertise of 18 UN agencies, governments and regional organizations and development banks together, also provides numerous resources to support local authorities to build back better and recover sustainably.   

COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh is an opportunity to accelerate climate and disaster resilience, especially at the local level. To avert and minimize potential losses and damages due to extreme weather events, countries must urgently invest in comprehensive risk management, which means to build their risk governance taking into consideration all the climate and disaster risk drivers. And here, international support is especially needed where vulnerabilities are high, such as in SIDS and LDCs, and countries affected by protracted humanitarian crises and conflict.

In closing, allow me to highlight the ongoing Midterm Review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework, which will culminate in a high-level meeting at the General Assembly in May next year. This midterm review outcome will provide valuable insight into the global stock take of the Paris Agreement on the extent to which national and local governments are reducing risk and building resilience in face of the climate emergency. I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you.

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