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Arab Region DRR Conference Calls for Emphasis on Climate Resilience

21 March 2013: The First Arab Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), co-organized by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), concluded with a call for the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) to emphasize climate resilience.

Representatives from 22 Arab countries participated in the meeting, which convened from 19-21 March 2013, in Aqaba, Jordan. Meeting participants discussed the HFA and its successor, to be agreed in 2015. UNISDR reports that participants recommended that the successor framework place “emphasis on improved governance and accountability, resources and capacities, knowledge and awareness.”

The meeting further singled out the following issues of importance: climate resilience with a focus on drought and water challenges; strengthening infrastructure to mitigate flash floods and seismic risk; urban risk management; and legislation and regulatory mechanisms.

Another key outcome of the meeting was the draft Aqaba Declaration on DRR in Cities, which will be shared with cities and towns across the region before final agreement in April 2013. The Cities Declaration seeks to set specific five-year targets including: allocation of at least 2% of a city's annual budget for DRR; and commitments to legislation, risk assessments, public awareness campaigns, safe schools and hospitals and other infrastructure improvements. [UNISDR Press Release, 21 March 2013] [UNISDR Press Release, 19 March 2013] [UN Press Release] [Conference Website]