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International Day for disaster Risk Reduction, October 13: It’s all about governance now

All that is needed is a better risk governance to reduce vulnerability towards hazards that cause massive disruptions to the society.

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International days are marked to educate the public on problems that require immediate concern, to mobilize political will and resources, to address such problems globally and also to cherish and celebrate man’s achievements.

The international day for disaster risk reduction was first marked in 1989 by the United Nations General Assembly.

It is a well-established fact that we cannot avert disasters but we can arm ourselves with the knowledge to negate the various impacts.
History stands witness and reminds us that disasters hit hardest at the root levels, with the potential to cause deaths and the great disturbance to the social and economic well being of those affected.
Thus, the need to promote a global culture of “risk awareness and risk reduction” is the need of the hour.

WHAT DO THE ONGOING COID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND A CLIMATE EMERGENCY HAVE TO SAY?

The UK at the crossroads between a 'dirty recovery' and 'build back better' | LSE Business Review
credits: blogs.lse.ac.uk

We as a global citizen need a clear vision and effective plans which are competent, we need institutions empowered for public good acting on scientific evidence.
Therefore, this year the international day for disaster risk reduction is everything about governance.
All that requires urgent attention is a better risk governance system.
An urgent attention towards the reduction in casualties, reduction in disease-affected areas, and towards the reduction in infrastructural or economic losses.

In 2015, the third UN world conference on disaster risk reduction was held in Sendai,  Japan. The conference reminded the global community that their capacities require strengthening. The conference also established a framework which focuses primarily on the people and is action-oriented. As agreed by the UN member of States, various national and local strategies would be imposed in various geographies by the end of this year.

AN OUTLINE OF THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION STRATEGIES AND PLANS :
[BASED ON GLOBAL ASSESSMENT REPORT ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION UNDRR [United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction] ]

  • These strategies are the brain elements to a wider disaster risk governance system.
  • these hold a very important responsibility of monitoring and implementing a country’s risk reduction priorities by establishing key roles and responsibilities of the government and non-government actors.
  • these also aim in identifying and plenishing various technical and financial resources.
  • the only demand they make is support and promotion, and above all active participation from across the various levels of society.
  • these strategies should not address only a single hazard like a flood or a storm but should respond to the systemic risk generated by events such as climatic shocks (such as depleting glacial cover), zoonotic diseases ( such as the Covid-19 Coronavirus) and environmental breakdown (such as the various forest fires including those of the Amazon and Australia that burnt down and  heavily impacted such great biodiversity Hotspots )

It is absolutely encouraging to watch that, there is a growing number of countries which see the values of this process and are contributing immensely and devising their risk priorities.

DISASTERS AND THE MAIN CHALLENGES THEY FACE :

Disaster is a mix of hazards, exposure and vulnerability. Based on its size and impact we categorise them into small medium and large.

i)  Small Scale Disasters – include fog storms hail storms lightning etc.
ii) Medium Scale Disasters – include erosion and deforestation leading to
landslides etc.
iii) Large Scale Disasters – include extreme climatic events such as droughts hurricanes, tornadoes etc.

According to the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters [CRED] Emergency event Database [EM-DAT]
“more than 1.5 million reported deaths and approx 4 billion were affected by various calamities between 2000 and 2019.” 

[Read more at:  #DRRday: UN Report charts huge rise in climate disasters]

Serious impacts of such calamities also displace millions every year.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE: CHALLENGES AND MEASURES :

Disaster Relief - First Baptist Church of Tallahassee
Image credit: fbctlh.org

There are a few big challenges that need to be addressed and some of the effective-most measures to be adopted.

  1. Mindset challenge
  2. Political challenges
  3. Technological challenges and resource challenges
  4. Risk assessment
  5. Better education laws
  6. Active coordination and cooperation  Effective governance
  7. Early warning systems
  8. Information sharing and sustainable development

A good National and local strategy for disaster risk management must be a collective effort connecting areas of land use, public health, education,  agriculture, environment energy, water resource, poverty and climate change adaptation.

Events in recent years have shown the significance of being prepared and that nations need to work together in order to lessen the pain and sufferings.

It’s time to raise our game if we want to leave a more resilient planet to future generations.

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