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Disaster Reduction Conference Discusses Post-Hyogo Framework

4 July 2012: The World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction, organized by the UN and the Government of Japan, concluded with a call for increased investment in disaster preparedness and recovery. Among other agenda items, conference participants discussed lessons learned from Japan on disaster preparedness, and renewing the disaster risk reduction (DRR) framework.

Participants learned from Japan's experience in disaster preparedness, in particular on the importance of: prioritizing disaster risk reduction (DRR); building institutional and legal frameworks to reduce risk and ensure recovery; and engaging in consultative processes and involving all levels of government.

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has initiated a consultation process to develop the DRR agenda beyond the Hyogo Framework for Action, which expires in 2015. Addressing the Conference, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark stressed four issues that require continued or increased attention in a post-Hyogo framework: bringing DRR to the center of development practice; building increased resilience into recovery processes; reforming governance arrangements to reduce disaster risk at national and local levels; and focusing on cross-cutting issues.

Kōichirō Gemba, Japan's Foreign Minister, reiterated his country's commitment to support the post-Hyogo Framework for Action and its pledge of over US$3 billion to international DRR initiatives in developing countries.

Participants noted the increased risks from climate change and the disproportionate effect of disasters on the poor, including displacement and loss of livelihoods. Gwi-Yeop Son, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), recommended collaboration “to strengthen humanitarian coordination systems, create an enabling environment for preparedness, and build community resilience so that people can better handle disasters."

The Conference Chair's summary document recommends, inter alia: integrating disaster reduction initiatives in development plans and public policies; reducing the impact of natural disasters through building community resilience to withstand the disruption and shocks from natural disasters; building capacity to cope with and manage disasters; and establishing partnerships to build resilience.

Participants from 63 countries and 14 international organizations attended the Conference, which was held in Sendai City in the Tohoku area of Japan, on 3-4 July 2012.  [Clark's Statement] [UNDP Press Release] [Conference Website] [Chair's Summary]