The first preparatory committee meeting of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held from 14 to 15 July 2014 at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the first preparatory meeting for the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This preparatory process welcomes the participation and contributions of all relevant stakeholders. The Major Group, composed of cities, local and regional authorities, was represented by Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina and President of the African Elected Women Network (REFELA).
“Rapid urbanisation and the expansion of cities and regions are exposing more people and economic assets to the risk of disasters and the effects of climate change, and are increasing social inequalities,” stated Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick. ”For local and regional governments, increased climate variability imposes additional challenges to effective urban management and the delivery of key services,” she said.
Although policies and plans are developed at national level, investments and implementation are carried out at the local level, thus, the inclusion of local indicators and a strengthened local reporting that supports in the development and monitoring of local plans is needed. “The new disaster risk reduction framework should continue and further strengthen the key role of local and regional authorities by effective decentralization with the principle of active citizen engagement and participation to ensure local risk reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience,” highlighted Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, representing the Local Authorities Major Group.
Following the idea of effective decentralization, Javier Pava, representative of the city of Bogota, emphasized the need to “Strengthen local capacity through decentralization processes and generate strategies for social and community participation in risk management and the adaptation to climate change in municipal development plans.”
The Mayor of Yogyakarta, Haryadi Suyuti, stated that "Although local governments are at the forefront of reducing risk and managing disasters, HFA progress at the local levels has been lagging behind. Major barriers include insufficient devolution of authorities and resources to local levels and insufficient capacity of local institutions."
The statement of the Local Authorities Major Group is based on feedback from consultations with local governments which started in early 2012, including outcomes of the Regional Platforms and the 4th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. This includes 63 dedicated local consultations where the views of local and national authorities on the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction have been sought. These consultations were supplemented by the results of the local government self-assessment reports from 500 cities and municipalities from 40 countries.
The Major Group calls for a reinforcement of the role of local and regional governments, aiming to strengthen their capacities and include them as essential implementers and actors of the framework under the guiding principles of the suggested elements.