Sendai calling: tackling disasters and climate change

12 February 2015

2015 will be a trek. One summit followed by another, ending with a steep climb to Paris. The first peak will be reached next month with delegates meeting at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan to finalise a new framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). ECO has some thoughts about outcomes at Sendai:

  1. A strong signal that climate change is already increasing the frequency, intensity and unpredictability of natural disasters. Reducing disaster risks will require emissions to be cut drastically.
  2. Ramp up support for disaster risk reduction action. Disaster preparedness is not a solo undertaking. Often a practitioner gap exists between DRR institutions and those doing adaptation on the ground. This results in bad planning and loss of crucial resources. Sendai should bridge that gap and transform DRR into “strategic DRR”.
  3. Initiate a framework that tracks countries’ progress in advancing DRR both qualitatively and in metrics. This framework could also provide valuable learning and bring coherence in implementation of adaptation actions.
  4. Promote approaches to tackle ‘exceeding national capacities’, which is a gap in the international system. Sometimes countries are overwhelmed by disasters. For many countries, these disasters are a direct result of our changing climate. The DRR needs of affected countries should be matched by reliable support, recognising collective and differentiated responsibilities.
  5. Strive to be broadly coherent with the post-2015 sustainable development goals and the finance for sustainable development negotiations.
  6. Just as with the climate negotiations, take better account of the needs of the most vulnerable, and integrate them into the entire process from needs assessment to implementation and monitoring.

From ECO’s viewpoint, the UNFCCC is still the main place for agreeing obligations and commitments to reduce risks through mitigation and adaptation and to address loss and damage. And Sendai is an important opportunity to provide mutual reinforcement between the UNFCCC process and other international efforts to address those concerns.

Sendai calling: tackling disasters and climate change

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