United Nations General Assembly - Second Committee

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Statement by Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

General Assembly - Second Committee

14 October 2019

Introduction of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030


Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to introduce the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, A/74/284.

The report’s clear message is that there is concrete evidence that investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience pays off.

Despite this evidence, risk-informed policies and investments remain the exception rather than the norm. The unintended negative consequences of development and economic polices continue to create disaster risk.

The Secretary-General reiterates the call for greater commitment and leadership from all governments and stakeholders to policy coherence in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework. Recent disasters in the Caribbean and the Summits held during the General Assembly High-Level Week have highlighted urgency of managing disaster risk and the importance to have disaster risk reduction front and centre in the Decade for Action for Delivering the SDGs. Disaster risk reduction must be integrated in policies, strategies, regulations and financing across all sectors.

The report provides the first overview of progress towards the seven global targets of the Sendai Framework based on data submitted by countries to the Sendai Framework Monitor. To provide a more robust picture of progress, the Secretary-General recommends that States increase their use of the online Sendai Framework Monitor.

This first overview shows that: Sendai Framework Target (a), to substantially reduce global disaster mortality, and Target (d), to significantly reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, are on track.

However, countries are not on track to achieve the other five Sendai Framework targets.

The number of people affected by disasters, Sendai Framework Target (b), is increasing and countries are far from achieving Sendai Framework Target (c) to reduce disaster economic losses.

The 2020 deadline for Target (e), to develop both national and local disaster risk reduction strategies, is approaching fast. While progress is being made, the current pace may jeopardize the achievement of the other Targets and of the SDGs. There is also concern that national strategies are not fully aligned with the Sendai Framework, and the development of local disaster risk reduction strategies requires urgent attention.

The Secretary-General therefore recommends that States allocate necessary resources towards accelerating the development of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by the end of 2020 with an emphasis on aligning them with the Sendai Framework.

Turning to Target (f) to substantially enhance international cooperation for developing countries to implement the Sendai Framework; this target is yet to materialize.

Finally, reporting against Sendai Framework Target (g), to substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems, has been a challenge and the preliminary results reveal room for improvement.

The report also provides an overview of progress towards the four priorities of the Sendai Framework.

Progress has been made under Priority One on understanding disaster risk to date. One hundred and nine countries and territories have national disaster loss databases in place using UNDRR’s DesInventar platform.

However, one of the main messages of the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction is that today’s risk landscape is changing rapidly.

Complex correlations between risks are emerging in ways not previously thought possible. Risk is accumulating within and across systems and the potential cascading consequences are more difficult to foresee and contain. Awareness and understanding of interconnected and rapidly shifting risks are insufficient across the board.

The Secretary-General’s report highlights the need to transform disaster risk data into easily accessible, understandable and usable risk information for all sectors. Common standards and formats are also needed to make multidimensional risk analysis a reality.

National validation of disaster risk data is critical to integrate the data into official national statistics and into decision making processes across sectors. The Secretary-General therefore recommends that States mobilize national statistics offices in the systematic collection, analysis and validation of disaster risk data.

Towards Priority Two of the Sendai Framework, the report gives guidance on strengthening disaster risk governance mechanisms. This is essential to effectively integrate disaster risk reduction into planning and budgeting across all sectors at all levels.

Countries should enact legal and regulatory frameworks for disaster risk reduction. They should establish inclusive national disaster risk reduction platforms and build capacity for cross-sectoral disaster risk governance. The role of Parliamentarians should also be part and parcel of the development and oversight of disaster risk reduction strategies.

The report stresses that disaster risk reduction strategies are the backbone of disaster risk governance. Their development, implementation and monitoring must be inclusive, participatory and grounded in a human rights-based approach. Women’s leadership and the role of children and youth must be strengthened through these mechanisms.

The Secretary-General therefore recommends that States strengthen or consider creating participatory, inclusive, cross-sectoral national and local disaster risk governance mechanisms and consider making disaster risk reduction a clear legal obligation under national law.

Effective cross-sectoral risk governance requires greater policy coherence between the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda at the national level. The Secretary-General recommends that States promote coherence and integration between disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development strategies.

Progress on policy coherence continues to be made at the global level. The political declaration of the SDG Summit, as well as the midterm reviews of the Samoa Pathway and the Vienna Programme of Action and deliberations at the Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit, recognise disaster risk reduction as central to achieving the SDGs and fighting the climate emergency.

Under Priority Three, the report raises the concern that financing continues to disproportionately focus on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction rather than resilience-building, risk reduction, and prevention. This imbalance must be corrected. The Secretary-General recommends that States increase domestic investments in disaster risk reduction and gives guidance on how countries can do this.

Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning should be engaged to ensure that all financial and development strategies and plans, including integrated national financing frameworks, are disaster risk-informed.

Standards, regulations and financing are necessary to ensure new and existing infrastructure is resilient. Standards are also necessary to define the disaster risk reduction responsibilities of the private sector and to encourageinvestments in resilience and prevention. Trade flows must also be resilient to the physical and economic impacts of disasters.

Finally, Priority Four is an opportunity for resilient and disaster risk-informed reconstruction and to tackle the poverty and exclusion that so often drives disaster risk.

The Secretary-General’s report stresses the importance of preparing to build back better to last before a disaster strikes. Without such preparations, the likelihood of recreating the risk that led to the disaster through recovery and reconstruction is significant.

For the first time this report includes a section with guidance on straightening policy and programmatic coherence on disaster risk reduction in LDCs, LLDC, SIDS and in countries affected by conflict, as well as on this issue of disaster displacement.

The Secretary-General therefore reiterates his recommendation to enhance international cooperation, global partnerships and the provision of means of implementation to support LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and middle-income countries, and to ensure that bilateral and multilateral development assistance is risk-informed. Moreover, the report recommends that the risk of disaster displacement be incorporated into disaster risk reduction strategies, where appropriate.

In summary, while progress is being made in implementing the Sendai Framework, disaster risk continues to be created at an unprecedented rate. While the impacts may be unintended, as we have seen in the Bahamas, the consequences are truly devastating.

The Sendai Framework is an unprecedented opportunity to change course and the Secretary-General reminds us that it is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda. It is our collective responsibility to humanity and to future generations to prioritize the full implementation of the Sendai Framework.

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