G20 underlines the critical importance of disaster risk reduction, notes UN-ESCAP

The Leader’s Declaration at the end of the G20 summit in New Delhi emphasized the critical importance of disaster reduction (DRR) and building disaster resilience in the most risky times of an increasingly warming planet. This reflects the strong commitment of the leaders of the world’s major economies to fully implement the Sendai Framework, said Sanjay Srivastava, director of disaster reduction at UN-ESCAP in Bangkok. 

 Improving coverage 

 The resulting document of the G20 Task Force on Disaster Risk recommends increasing the general coverage of early warning systems for multiple hazards and strengthening early and preventive measures, promoting investment, taking into account the specific needs and contexts of different regions and the importance of cross-border activities -border approach, Srivastava wrote to Businessline. Governments in the Asia-Pacific region have been called upon to develop regional early warning systems. 

 There is no particular problem 

  Srivastava said that DRR is not a standalone issue, but an integral part of addressing resilience-building challenges. For the first time, the Indian Presidency formed a working group to integrate disaster risk reduction into G20 countries and support developing countries. The main goal is to integrate risk reduction measures into investment decisions and decision-making processes of the public and private sectors to reduce existing risks, prevent the emergence of new risks, and ultimately build a sustainable economy, society, and natural systems. 

Asia Pacific is suffering 

 “Nowhere are disaster risk reduction efforts more tangible than in Asia and the Pacific, the world’s most disaster-prone region. Climate-induced and other disasters have claimed two million lives since 1970, and the poorest in the least developed countries suffer the most from the devastating effects of natural disasters,” Srivastava said, referring to the leaders’ declaration. More than 80 percent of the population in the Asia-Pacific region is exposed to multiple threats. A national priority 

 Paragraph 46 of the Declaration commits to accelerating progress in early warning and early response through strengthening national and local capacity, innovative financial tools, private sector investment, and knowledge sharing. Echoing the Secretary-General’s initiative, the Working Group on Early Warning called “global coverage of early warning systems” a priority for all. Srivastava noted that all countries, including emerging market economies / developing countries / least developed countries and small island developing countries, are encouraged to promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to disasters and climate change.

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