13 October: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020
On 13 October 2020, disaster managers across the globe will be commemorating the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020 (IDDR). 13 October 2019 feels like a lifetime ago. Would you have guessed a year ago that we would be in the midst of an international pandemic with the majority of countries on lockdown? Were we ready? Were you ready?
I think it is near impossible to be fully prepared for what this pandemic had thrown at us, at the world. But, if nothing else, it had taught us many lessons on being prepared for the unthinkable; to think and act on the run, to build resilience amidst chaos, to build relationships and teams, to manage the unthinkable as if we were prepared for it.
Unfortunately, this Pandemic will most certainly leave its trail of destruction behind including the inevitable death toll, economic repercussions on an already financially strained public, industries and businesses and so many job losses.
International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
The United Nations General Assembly has designated October 13th as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction to promote a global culture of disaster risk reduction. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan in March 2015.
In 2016, the UN Secretary-General launched “The Sendai Seven Campaign” to promote each of the seven targets over seven years. The 2020 target is Target E: “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020”, which lays the foundation for the implementation of the Sendai Framework and is closely linked with Priority for Action 2: “Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk.”
Mami Mizutori announced disaster risk governance as the theme for this year's International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13. ‘Disaster risk governance’ was announced today as the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October in a year when a great number of people have died and fallen ill because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In her statement, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, said, “We have learned from the worst single disaster of the 21st Century so far, that if we do not strengthen disaster risk governance to take on the challenge of existential threats, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the last eight months, which have cost so many lives and damaged the health and economic and social well-being of millions.”
“This year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is all about governance. You can measure good disaster risk governance in lives saved, reduced numbers of disaster-affected people and reduced economic losses. COVID-19 and the climate emergency are telling us that we need clear vision, plans and competent, empowered institutions acting on scientific evidence for the public good.”
“This requires having national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by the end of the year as agreed by UN member States when they adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015. We need to see strategies which address not just single hazards like floods and storms but those that respond to systemic risk generated by zoonotic diseases, climate shocks and environmental breakdown.”
“Good national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral linking policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation.”
“It’s time to raise our game if we want to leave a more resilient planet to future generations.”
Download the PDF here: Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030)
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