Political Champions: no development without disaster risk reduction

Sep 25, 2013


New York– High-level representatives from governments, multilateral agencies and the private sector, met today on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. They called for greater international commitment to mitigating disasters, claiming that there can be no sustainable development without disaster risk reduction.

The Political Champions for Disaster Resilience, an informal grouping of senior representatives and political leaders that advocates for greater emphasis on and investment in disaster risk reduction, met over a breakfast hosted by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and UK Development Secretary Justine Greening. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss future joint initiatives, as well as to take stock of progress achieved in piloting a ‘resilience programme’ in Haiti, a country that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2010.

“Our goal is to build stronger, more resilient communities who can persevere in the face of recurrent disasters,” said UNDP’s Helen Clark. “This initiative is about partners coming together and coalescing behind a government-led strategy, as we are seeing in Haiti.”

Haiti, the newest member of the Political Champions Group, was represented by Foreign Minister Pierre Richard Casimir. The Foreign Minister noted that his Government is leading a multi-partner initiative to trial a range of measures designed to make the country more resilient to future disasters. The Champions welcomed news that three pilot regions had already been selected and efforts are underway.

Another key focus for the Political Champions since it was established in 2012 has been cooperation with the private sector. Justine Greening, the UK’s Secretary of State for Development and Co-Chair of the Champions, is advocating for targeted support to the insurance industry in select countries. At the meeting, the group agreed that this approach offered many opportunities. Preparations for country assessments to determine feasibility are underway.

Greening also invited updates from the group on key regional initiatives, specifically the European Union’s Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative (AGIR) in the Sahel and USAID’s Global Alliance for Action for Drought Resilience and Growth in the Horn of Africa. Both initiatives offer opportunities to complement the work of the Political Champions.

Contact information

UNDP: Carl Mercer; carl.mercer@undp.org

DFID: Philip Reed; Philip.reed@fco.gov.uk

UNDP Around the world