The official 4th session held in the framework of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction’s fourth session took place from 20th to 21st may in Geneva with participants from several countries and numerous partners of the Platform including over fifty local elected representatives representing various regions of the world. This theme holds increasing importance in the agenda of local and regional governments as they can be severely affected by disaster. The economic losses owing to disasters over the last 13 years are fearful as they have reached 2700 billion US dollars and 2.9 billion people have now been affected.
UCLG, ICLEI and UNISDR organised, on the 20th May, a meeting dedicated to revising the Hyogo Framework for Action that should be adopted during a world conference in 2015. Among the points made by local government representatives during this session, highlights include:
- Reinforcing the decentralisation processes to better prepare resilience and reduce disaster risk,
- Support basic communities in managing and reducing risk at local level, reduce vulnerability by concentrating efforts on inequalities and the fight against poverty,
- Facilitate access to financing, in particular through a simplification of mechanisms such as the World Bank for risk reduction.
The 2013 World Platform will give particular attention to three critical fields: The first relates to investments from the private sector in the management of disaster risk. The second concerns the work of communities and networks and the support of resilience policies. The third will address the role of national governments and local and regional governments in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the post 2015 agenda to build resilience in facing disasters.
Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Jan Eliasson met a group of representatives from local and regional authorities from several countries (France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Kenya, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Japan, Philippines, Iran, USA, El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Chile) and representatives from UCGL and ICLEI.
During this meeting, the Deputy Secretary General hailed the importance of towns and cities and the local level in working to resolve questions of risk at all stages: prevention, planning and management of crisis situations. Local authorities are at the frontline as they are severely affected by these disasters and must face the substantial economic losses during these events. Accelerated urbanisation and the increase in the urban population are considered as important and often aggravating factors as they accentuate the vulnerability and risk in the urban space.
The Deputy Secretary General spoke of the important work conducted by the UCLG President and Mayor of Istanbul, Dr Kadir Topbas, in the framework of the High Level Panel charged by Mr. Ban Ki Moon to address the post 2015 agenda. The role of elected representatives is furthermore essential in light of the evolution in the decentralisation processes that have taken place in several countries. UCLG reaffirmed its position and requested that the local level be better taken into account and further associated in the drafting of national disaster risk reduction strategies.