Our Perspectives

Protecting development requires an ambitious, actionable framework for disaster risk reduction


 Participants receive training on disaster preventionParticipants receive training on disaster prevention in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic to protect the people and infrastructure of the municipalities of the province. Photo credit: Benjamín Pérez Espinal/UNDP Dominican Republic

This week, representatives from Member States, civil society, the UN and the private sector are meeting in Geneva to continue work on a Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This Framework, a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), will shape how national governments and the international community undertake disaster risk reduction and resilience building for the next 20-years. Given its longevity and (hopeful) impact, a great deal rests on making this Framework as strong and efficient as possible. I would like to offer a few recommendations:

First, HFA2 must recognize that disaster risk is first and foremost a development concern. While hazards, such as floods, are a given in the world we live in, whether or not that flood turns into a full blown disaster really depends on the quality of development that’s been undertaken. HFA2 must acknowledge this fact and ensure that the actions it recommends clearly enable risk-informed development.  

Second, climate change is going to seriously exacerbate the threat of disasters; we must therefore see this as a game-changer in disaster risk reduction. HFA2 should position itself as a disaster risk roadmap, clearly complementary of any future climate change activities. Like many agencies and partners UNDP has seen the writing on the wall and has already taken steps to bring together its climate change and disaster portfolios; given the growing importance of the climate change agenda, HFA2 would be remiss if it waited another 20-years before also taking these steps.

Third, the Framework needs to spell out the means of implementation. Building on the success of the first HFA and taking advantage of widespread global support, HFA2 has the opportunity to not only outline goals and objectives but also to clarify how these should be achieved. Part of this is signaling where, when and how the UN, the international community, local governments, CSOs and the private sector can support. Each of us has specific mandates and comparative advantages which position us to best support certain areas; the new Framework should recognize this and outline to Member States the resources available to support them.  

Fourth, any actions or priorities proposed in the new Framework must be underwritten with a strong and tangible link to risk-governance. Over the last 10 years, UNDP has learned that those countries that prioritize and integrate DRR into their very workings are those that achieve sustainable success. Laws, policies, institutional arrangements, all of these things are prime areas where risk can be engrained and elevated. This will in turn make it easier for concrete actions to receive funding and prioritization.

Finally, HFA2 is not being developed in a vacuum, but is one of a number of global agreements to emerge over the next two years. The Sustainable Development Goals, the future climate change agreement, and the World Humanitarian Summit will all deal with ‘shocks’ to development, issues which, like disasters, can be understood, mitigated and prepared for. Finding synergies and alignment across these global processes will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile. As the first framework to emerge, the onus is on HFA2 to take the first step and lay the groundwork for any future integration.  

Those involved in drafting and developing the successor to the Hyogo Framework deserve credit for having undertaken a massive assignment. We have come a long way; my advice now: don’t rest just before the finish line, we need the best framework possible to ensure that our development efforts are truly sustainable.

Over the last decade, UNDP has expended at least US$ 1.7 billion helping partners to achieve the priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action. For more information, read our impact report: Protecting Development from Disasters: UNDP’s support to the HFA.

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