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UNDP Administrator Stresses the Importance of Disaster Risk Reduction

15 August 2012: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark delivered the University of Canterbury's Hopkins Lecture in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which she addressed the theme “Building Resilience: The Importance of Disaster Risk Reduction.”

Clark offered four key messages. First, investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) is cost effective, smart development that will pay off in the long-term. Second, building resilience will lead to improved sustainable development by empowering individuals, supporting communities, and developing government capacity at every level. Third, sharing experience and knowledge is essential to prevention and preparedness. Finally, it is imperative to better incorporate DRR in future global development frameworks and thinking.

Clark described the Hyogo Framework for Action for 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, an approach to reducing disaster risk that includes five priorities: ensuring DRR as a national and local priority; identifying, assessing, and monitoring disaster risks and enhancing early warning systems; using knowledge, innovation, and education to facilitate a culture of resilience and safety; reducing underlying risk factors; and strengthening disaster preparedness at all levels.

Clark then related how UNDP will consolidate lessons learned from the Framework's implementation to guide the post-Hyogo framework on DRR. Noting that over 90% of disasters are related to climate events, she recommended that the post-Hyogo framework should reconcile the development and environment agendas, including on climate change adaptation. She added that post-Hyogo discussions will link with the post-2015 development agenda process.

Clark also highlighted UNDP country support to develop DRR strategies and integrate strategies into national planning. She called for, inter alia: building capacity to deal with climate-related disaster risks; increased investment in prevention and preparedness; prioritization of support for poor countries; and greater collaboration among development and humanitarian practitioners to increase resilience to future shocks. The Hopkins Lecture recognizes the service of Professor H. J. Hopkins in the field of engineering. [UNDP Administrator Speech] [UNDP Press Release] [UNISDR Press Release] [Publication: Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction]