Geneva meeting calls for DRR efforts

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Geneva | Sat, 05/14/2011 1:12 PM

The third session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction ended on Friday with a call for coordinating efforts to make communities more resilient in the face of disasters.

“Participants at the third Global Platform have recognized the urgency we face and realized clearly that the world needs to act quickly and in concrete ways to make the world safer,” the United Nations Secretary-General’s special representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Margareta Wahlström, said during her presentation of the chair’s summary.

“This helped produce a strong outcome, which I hope will stop the world from behaving recklessly and instead ensure that our development will prevent losses and protect gains and people,” she added.

The four-day event also called for a high-level meeting during the next General Assembly to address the link between natural hazards and nuclear safety.

The participants agreed that they would develop a recovery and reconstruction framework, capitalize on the strengths of the stakeholders, place countries in the driver’s seat on decision-making, provide timely, relevant knowledge and lessons learned through existing practitioner networks, assist in establishing robust and transparent quality and result-monitoring systems and improve systems and instruments for recovery and reconstruction finance.

“Consensus emerged for the world to work together effectively in the future,” Zoubida Allaoua, the director of the Finance, Economics, and Urban Development Department of the World Bank, said.

Around 3,000 delegates attended the conference, which carried the theme “Invest Today for a Safer Tomorrow — Increase Investment in Local Actions”.

They included representatives from governments, international agencies and institutions, regional bodies, civil society, the private sector and scientific and academic communities. The Palestinian delegation called for the world’s attention on the impact of Israeli occupation.

“If we want to obtain the resilience for communities, this international meeting must implement the aims and goals of the meeting,” Jalal Al Dabbeek of the Palestinian delegation told The Jakarta Post.

He added that disaster risk reduction programs should increase the coping capacity for countries related to institutional frameworks.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was hailed by the UN as the global champion of disaster management, but none of the Indonesian cities won the Sasakawa Award.

The cities of San Francisco (the Philippines), Santa Fe (Argentina), and the District of North Vancouver (Canada) were given the UN-Sasakawa Award on Thursday night for Disaster Risk Reduction.

San Francisco, won US$25,000, and was chosen for its innovative use of the Purok system, a traditional method of self-organization within villages where members voluntarily contribute to a pool of money used by those in need of emergency funds after a disaster.

Santa Fe, a city frequently hit by floods, was recognized for effectively communicating risk to its citizens.

The district of North Vancouver, which experienced a landslide in 2005, impressed the delegates with its GIS (Geographic Information System) website, where the public can access mapping, census, land, environmental, zoning, building and other valuable information stored in the District’s GIS. Both cities won $12,500 each.***

Source: The Jakarta Post