Experts discuss climate change and disaster resilience at first SDG Roundtable

Jun 9, 2016

Korean and international experts discuss climate change and disaster resilience at first SDG Roundtable (photos: USPC)

The UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) held a roundtable on climate change and disaster resilience that brought together experts from governments, academia, research institutions and international organizations, as well as university students. It was the first in a series of Roundtables on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held in celebration of UNDP’s 50th anniversary this year.

With the objective of discussing how countries can build stronger resilience as part of their strategies for implementation of the SDGs, the roundtable participants highlighted Korea’s good practices on disaster resilience, shared expertise on the topic, and explored how to combine the long-term impacts of climate change with disaster risk reduction (DRR) actions in a developing country’s political economy context. As case in point, the devastating earthquake that struck Ecuador on April 16 2016 was analyzed as an example of current disaster risk response systems.

The roundtable was conducted in a dynamic format, consisting of expert presentations on climate change and disaster resilience from various organizational perspectives, followed by an open discussion moderated by Dr. Ilpyo Hong from the Korea Society of Hazard Mitigation. Presentations were made by Mr Christian Anchaluisa Shive, Adviser to the Ambassador of Ecuador in Korea, Dr. Chanwoo Lee from KOICA, and Dr. Heekwan Lee, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Incheon National University. Dr. Suh Yong CHUNG, Associate Dean of the Division of International Studies at Korea University, provided the opening and closing remarks.

Dr. Sarwat Chowdhury, Policy Specialist at USPC shared the lessons learned from UNDP’s past experiences on climate change adaptation and DRR and the implications for the SDGs and Agenda 2030. She discussed how DRR cuts across different aspects and sectors of development, explaining that while linked to natural hazards, such as storms or earthquakes, the actual impact of disasters is directly linked to poor development choices that increase vulnerabilities and expose people and communities to risk. By undertaking risk-informed and resilient development, decades of hard work and costly development gains can be protected, and lives and livelihoods can be saved.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction make the links between climate change, DRR and development very clear, and their implementation present excellent opportunities to reduce disaster risk, build a climate resilient future and achieve the SDGs.

"UNDP’s own strategic framework focuses on three very relevant main streams: sustainable development, climate resilience and democratic governance”, said Mr. Artemy Izmestiev, officer-in-charge of USPC in his opening remarks. “But there is a lot of work to be done to put the principle into practice. It includes bringing greater coherence among the three frameworks, measuring improvements in people’s resilience through these frameworks, and also need for greater harmonization at the national and local levels,” he further added.

UNDP works in some 170 countries and territories, helping countries build and share solutions in three main areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peacebuilding and climate and disaster resilience. USPC works with national and international stakeholders to contribute to the discourse of linking climate change and DRR to the SDG implementation processes.

The First SDG Roundtable was followed by the Benefit Concert for Ecuador, supported by the Embassy of Ecuador in Korea, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre and Korea University. Both events took place on 9 June 2016 at Korea University. A second SDG roundtable will take place in the second half of 2016.