Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyze and reduce the causal factors of disasters. Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events are all examples of disaster risk reduction. Disaster risk reduction not only includes disciplines like disaster management, disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness, but is also part of sustainable development. In order for development activities to be sustainable they must also reduce disaster risk.
On the other hand, unsound development policies will increase disaster risk – and disaster losses. Thus, DRR involves every part of society, every part of government, and every part of the professional and private sector.
In cognizance of the above factors, Non-Aligned Movement has constantly laid emphasis on responsibility of all States to undertake disaster risk reduction, including through preparedness, as well as response and early recovery efforts, in order to minimize the impact of natural disasters, and has recognized the importance of international cooperation in support of the efforts of affected countries which may have limited capacities and resources in this regard. Dr. Mohsen Naziri Asl, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office in Geneva, expressed concerns for disaster risk reduction and management at an event in Geneva in June 2014.
NAM Member States have encouraged and offered their full cooperation to the United Nations System to make every effort to accelerate its full integration and mainstreaming of disaster risk-reduction into all its programmes and activities to ensure that it contributes to the achievement of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Millennium Development Goals, to give due consideration to its reflection in the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2)and the Sustainable Development Goals .
It may be mentioned that the Hyogo Framework of Action aimed at improving disaster risk management calls upon countries to developing national coordination mechanisms; conduct baseline assessments on the status of disaster risk reduction; publishing and updating summaries of national programmes; reviewing national progress towards achieving the objectives and priorities of the Hyogo Framework; working to implement relevant international legal instruments; and integrating disaster risk reduction with climate change strategies.
Furthermore, the movement also acknowledges the importance of the work of the United Nations in disaster risk reduction and the growing demands on the Secretariat of the Strategy and the need for increased, timely, stable and predictable resources for the implementation of the Strategy; and in this regard have appealed that the UN Secretary General must consider how best to support implementation of the disaster risk reduction strategy taking into account the important role played by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction ( ISDR )Secretariat, with a view to ensuring adequate resources for the operationalization of the Strategy by the Secretariat.
As a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement, India is taking a lead role in ensuring the effective implementation of disaster risk reduction mechanisms. In the last 10 years since the adoption of the Hyogo Framework for Action, India has taken a number of measures to strengthen the legal, financial and institutional mechanisms to reduce disaster risk reduction and build capacities for response, relief, reconstruction and recovery at all levels of governance. Planning frameworks at the national state levels articulate the need to mainstream DRR in development planning for which funds have been provided for as part of the centrally sponsored schemes. The systems for early warning have also been strengthened using state of the art technology. India has taken a lead role in making Disaster Risk Reduction a success in the Asian region. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs in India Kiren Rijiju stated that India will implement the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in letter and spirit.
The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan on 14-18 March, 2015 where India was represented by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.
The example of India serves to show that NAM has been successful in urging member states to implement commitments related to assistance and offering support for developing countries – that are prone to natural disasters – in the transition phase towards sustainable physical, social and economic recovery, for risk-reduction activities in post-disaster recovery and for rehabilitation processes.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor