Better prediction, coordination are key to building resilience, UNDP chief says

23 Sep 2011

WashingtonBetter prediction of disasters and better coordination are critical to fostering resilience in vulnerable, disaster-stricken countries, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark said today.

“We’ve got to start building resilience into everything we do,” she told a seminar at annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund here. “We have to use the platforms we’ve got to work much more seamlessly…Prevention is the best way forward here,” she said, adding that planning for disaster response saves lives, livelihoods, and property.

International and national agencies must work toward better predicting and preparing for disasters and remain attentive to well-known risk patterns, Helen Clark said, citing the Horn of Africa—where sustained conflict and prolonged drought have resulted in a famine that threatens more than 4 million people.

The seminar, “Closing the Loop: Integrated Action for Disaster Resilience,” was hosted by the World Bank, European Union, Japan, Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It aimed to find better ways of coordinating humanitarian and development actors to support resilience.

UNDP and six global partners committed today to work together in planning and financing disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience strategies in critical disaster hotspots around the world.  Other major global development and humanitarian donors included the World Bank, United Kingdom, Japan, the EU’s Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, the USAID Administrator, and the UN’s Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.

They agreed to:

  • Systematically integrate social, physical, environmental, and economic resilience to extreme events and climate change into all their development strategies and programs.
  • Prioritize global disaster and climatic risk hotspots, where building disaster resilience is most urgent.
  • Coordinate international action and financing based on country-owned priorities, in order to build national and local resilience in disaster hotspots.
  • Prioritize investments, which offer the highest value, namely, weather and climate information systems, strengthening early warning and emergency preparedness, linking these systems to triggers for early action, creating safety nets for vulnerable populations, utilizing disaster risk financing/insurance, promoting sustainable land management, protecting critical infrastructure, and strengthening national and local institutions.
  • Support rapid and resilient recovery by coordinating action in post-disaster situations, in order to link and streamline the transition from relief to reconstruction and development.