Helen Clark on the Power of Partnerships: Implementing the Post-2015 Framework for DRR

Mar 16, 2015

This morning’s event is focused on the power of partnerships in implementing the new framework for disaster risk reduction which is being determined here in Sendai. Disaster risk reduction needs big partnerships – involving developing and developed countries, all levels of government, communities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

UNDP is making concerted efforts to expand its partnerships for disaster risk reduction and recovery, so that we can enhance the support we give to developing countries.

Let me highlight some examples of our key partnerships – with the private sector, the EU and the World Bank, the Red Cross Movement, and with governments:

1. Deutsche Post DHL partners in our ‘Get Airports Ready for Disaster’ programme – GARD. Through this initiative, workers have been trained in dozens of airports across more than 25 countries in how to prepare for and manage during emergencies. Airports are vital hubs for relief workers and aid supplies, so enhancing their performance and maintaining business continuity during an emergency is vital. Deutsche Post DHL brings to the partnership its huge experience of handling logistics and maintaining delivery services in challenging circumstances.

2. A second vital partnership is our work with the European Union and the World Bank to improve post disaster response and recovery.

In September last year this partnership launched a new post-disaster needs assessment tool and recovery framework guidelines. These were the result of years of collaboration between us in supporting disaster-affected countries to identify recovery priorities.

3. The third partnership I am highlighting this morning is that with our colleagues in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). We are very pleased to have their Secretary General, Mr. Elhadj As Sy, here with us this morning.

Since 2012, we have been collaborating with IFRC on how to improve domestic legislation around disaster risk reduction. Last year, we launched the largest comparative study yet on ‘Effective law and regulation for disaster risk reduction’, covering 31 countries. A series of global and regional consultations since then have informed the development of a Checklist on Law and DRR for lawmakers and practitioners, which we are in the process of finalizing together by the end of the year.

4. UNDP’s primary partnerships are with developing countries where we work with governments, national and sub-national, and other stakeholders. Of the many country partnerships we have on DRR, let me refer to that with India. In 1999, when a super-cyclone devastated the state of Odisha, UNDP was one of the partners which backed government in undertaking a massive overhaul of the DRR system there which transformed disaster risk reduction. India’s success in disaster risk reduction is worthy of study.

We have similar partnerships with many countries - some go back decades; others are more recent, such as the collaboration with the Government of Solomon Islands under the Pacific Resilience Programme which commenced in 2013.

Report launch and programme

This morning, UNDP has two announcements to make:

First, I am pleased to launch our new flagship publication: ‘UNDP Support to Disaster Risk Governance during the HFA Implementation Period’.

This publication is a detailed review of our risk governance support in 125 disaster prone countries since 2005, and focuses in particular on our experiences in seventeen countries. It is unequivocal in stating that effective governance is critical for comprehensive disaster risk reduction. By firmly placing DRR at the center of the design and implementation of public policy, development becomes risk-informed.

Disaster risk-governance is an all-of-government and all-of-society concern. It must be ‘owned’ by agencies and stakeholders beyond national disaster management authorities. UNDP’s ability to provide sustained capacity development support over years, and sometimes even decades, has allowed it to accompany partner countries in their efforts to bring about far-reaching changes in the way their organizations, as well as society overall, manage disaster risks.

Effective disaster risk governance is not only about institutions, policies and laws, but also about how decisions on DRR priorities at national and sub-national level are made. Governance processes which ensure transparency, accountability, participation, and equity in policy setting and implementation, are as important for disaster risk reduction as they are for other priority areas.

New programme

I am also pleased to announce that UNDP is developing a new global programme – called 5-10-50 – in support of implementation of the new framework for DRR being agreed at Sendai. 5-10-50 is about supporting risk-informed development through five components, for ten years, across fifty countries.

We expect to have the final product ready for approval by the end of the year, with roll-out in partner countries beginning early next year. Right now, we seeking partners for this 10-year endeavor.

The 5 thematic areas of the programme are:

First, the building block of risk reduction: risk assessment and communication. Risk-informed development must be based on a clear understanding of what the risks actually are. UNDP will work with partners to build country capacity in this area, including through technology transfer and South-South Co-operation.

Second, this investment in risk assessment and communication must be turned into early warning and preparedness. UNDP aims to build the capacity of communities and countries to generate timely and meaningful warning information also to prepare well for any disaster.

Third, the programme will focus on improving governance for disaster risk reduction. We observe that societies with strong disaster and climate risk governance arrangements have a greater ability to manage risks, and to make progress in reducing their disaster losses and impacts substantially. Risk governance is at the heart of resilience building. It embeds risk reduction in a country’s institutional, political, and financial systems. This will be at the core of UNDP’s work to ensure that development is risk-informed.

Fourth – building preparedness and the process of recovery from a disaster offer crucial opportunities to reduce the impact of future disasters. UNDP will work with our partners to ensure that post-disaster recovery is an entry point for advancing risk-informed development.

And fifth, we must be fully cognizant of the increased risk and volatility the world’s peoples face – and not only from climate change. Rapid urbanization, for example, is straining resources and social services in many places, and exposing larger populations in dense areas to heightened risk, which they are often unprepared to address, reduce, or manage. UNDP will work with communities and cities to strengthen their links to national and regional DRR mechanisms, and to undertake their own risk reduction programmes.

I thank you once again for joining UNDP here today. I will now hand over to our technical experts who will give further information about our new risk governance report.

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