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2019

29/05/2019
JAKARTA, 29 May 2019 – Following the deaths or disappearances of over 4,600 people last year in 2,426 recorded disaster events, Indonesia is stepping up efforts to improve disaster risk management.  Indonesia straddles the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean making it vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The country's National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) today signed an agreement with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) intended to strengthen its overall disaster risk management in order to reduce loss of life and economic losses from future events. “UNDRR is committed to doing what it can to support you every step of the way, and this Joint Declaration we are signing today is a manifestation of this commitment,” said Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNDRR, who travelled to Jakarta for the occasion. The Joint Declaration covers capacity building to support the development of national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction, advancing research, science and technology, as well as jointly promoting regional and international cooperation. These are all key to the successful implementation of the global plan to reduce disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. “We learned from the earthquake, tsunami and liquefaction disasters that occurred in 2018 that disaster preparedness alone is not enough. We need to approach this comprehensively from the aspects of spatial planning, environmental aspects, and aspects of infrastructure,” said Lieutenant General Doni Monardo, Head of BPNP who signed the declaration on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia. The signing occurred on the occasion of a national Consultative Workshop on Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction and Early Warning in Indonesia which is part of Indonesia’s plan to mainstream disaster risk management into national development policies over the next 5 to 25 years. With the participation of various Indonesian ministries and UN agencies, the workshop reviewed the growing and emerging disaster risks in Indonesia and the ongoing and planned efforts to address them. Participants shared lessons from recent disasters, in particular, the Palu-Donggala earthquake and tsunami, and how those lessons will be applied to improving Indonesia’s end-to-end multi-hazard early warning systems.  A key focus will be on improving early warnings, early action and self-evacuation at the local level.
17/05/2019
By Jovana MiocinovicGENEVA, 17 May, 2019 - “If investors do not address disaster risk properly, their business performance will be directly affected,” stressed Sandra Wu, Board Member of UN Global Compact. “They have to understand that if they do not incorporate risk-informed investments, they will lose their business.” This is the main message of the very well-attended third High-Level Dialogue held at the Global Platform 2019, which focused on risk-informed public and private investments.    Participants called for a balance between the hard-nosed pursuit of business opportunities and social responsibility, and deliberated on how to make speculative development less profitable and make long-term resilient development more profitable.  One way of dealing with this crucial question is to look at market behaviour, which unlike hazard is predictable. It is driven by profit-making.  It was argued that most destruction occurs in the residential and light commercial segment of our communities because much development is built on a short-term basis and built vulnerably on purpose to be sold off quickly.  This trend could be reversed by strengthening the enforceability of existing laws and building codes, and by raising awareness about disaster risk and its cost among citizens, government officials and investors alike.  Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings Inc., one of the largest property developers in South East Asia, asserted that risk-informed investment makes good business sense.  Given his country’s high exposure to disasters, 10 per cent of his company’s total investment goes into resilience investment.  “We have to find ways to strengthen public financing capacity,” said Isidoro Santana, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development of Dominican Republic, speaking of the ways to boost long-term resilient development in Latin America and the Caribbean where many countries faced infrastructure difficulties.  These countries formed the Latin American Climate Action Network and the Latin American Network for Public Finances in order to coordinate, share experiences and best practices, and look into public planning investment systems in line with the principles of resilience.    Contributing to risk-informed public and private investments are space technologies, as pointed out by Hiroshi Yamakawa, President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).  “Close collaboration between space agencies and disaster management users is crucial,” he noted.  Satellite images provide 24/7 information on wide geographical areas and thus supply data to be used by disaster managers to plan evacuation, rescue and support activities.  “Risk losses money at the end of the day,” said July Moyo, Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing of Zimbabwe, when speaking about ways to motivate businesses to make risk-informed investments during the working session on resilience dividend, which followed the high-level dialogue.    “If we don’t get into action, we won’t have a planet to live on,” warned Shaun Tarbuck, CEO of International Mutual Insurance Association, whereas Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Humanitarian Assistance and Human Rights Policy of Germany noted that “unlocking the resilience dividend is truly in everyone’s interest.”    
17/05/2019
By Denis McCleanGENEVA, 17 May 2019 - The prestigious RISK Award went today to a project which pioneers floating houses in Bangladesh; houses so designed that a family of six can survive floods and still produce their own food including vegetables, chickens and fish. The €100,000 prize sponsored by the Munich Re Foundation was accepted by Nandan Mukherjee on behalf of  Dundee University, Scotland, and Resilience Solution, Bangladesh. The organizers, the Munich Re Foundation, Global Risk Forum (GRF) Davos, and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction received 109 applications from 48 countries in response to a call for applications focussed on coastal resilience in face of climate and environmental changes. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Mukherjee said the idea of disaster resilient homes was promped by a story he heard from a woman who lost a child in a flood and was then abandoned by her husband. “She blames herself every single day, and she told me that she will never take another child or try for a family again in her life because she is unable to safeguard poor lives,” he said. Mr. Mukherjee continued: “The area was protected by flood embankments and people living inside the area did not anticipate flooding, therefore they were living in a false sense of security that they are protected from flood. However, the reality was something else. They didn’t go to the emergency ‘safe’ shelter, because ‘safe’ shelters are not as safe as it sounds. “Numerous literatures document the occurrences of rape, child abuse, inadequate space, poor water supply and sanitation access, inadequate food in the shelters. Most importantly, there is no provision for continuing the daily livelihood in the safe shelters.” So the idea of a disaster resilient home was born and the prize money will be used to help bring the project to scale in the flood prone river basins and deltas  of Bangladesh. Mr. Mukherjee explained: “A truly disaster resilient home needs the following: it needs to robust enough to float above the flood water, providing safety. It needs to generate enough food with proper nutritional balance. It needs access to water, electricity and all other basic amenities. “The outside walls of the house can be used for vertical gardens, we can harvest rainwater for self-sufficiency in drinking water, we can utilise renewable energy solutions for electricity, and further utilise modern technologies like aquaponics and poultry rearing for livelihood and waste recycling.” The award was presented by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, who said: “This week at the sixth Global Platform we have heard time and again about the benefit of investing before a disaster strikes, rather than responding to its effects. This is a great example of the kind of investment that the world needs.” On behalf of the Munich Re Foundation, chairman Thomas Loster, congratulated the winner and noted that “Around 40% of the world’s population live in coastal areas less than 100 kms from the sea. There are lots of challenges including rising sea levels, heavy rainfall, intense storms so the RISK Award is very pleased to encourage innovations such as these floating homes which can be replicated in many parts of the world.”
17/05/2019
By Denis McCleanGENEVA , 17 May 2019 - The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction closed today with a warning that not enough countries are yet putting in place national and local strategies to prevent future disasters and reduce the existing level of disaster losses. While 116 UN Member States are reporting against the seven targets of the Sendai Framework, the global plan to reduce disaster losses, just 92 countries have reported putting these strategies in place to meet the 2020 deadline set out in target (e). Manuel Sager, Secretary of State for Switzerland and Global Platform co-chair, read out the Chair’s Summary which stated that “the current pace of implementation is not fast enough to meet the 2020 deadline for target (e) and may delay further progress on other targets.” The other six targets include reducing disaster-related mortality, the numbers of disaster affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure. There are also targets for enhanced international cooperation and increased availability of multi-hazard early warning systems. The Chair’s Summary took up the conference theme “Resilience Dividend: Toward Sustainable and Inclusive Societies” and found that “the application of risk-informed investment and development decisions are still the exception rather than the rule.” Marwen Elmenshawy, speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, said that the Stakeholder Engagment Mechanism was united in support of efforts to have national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by 2020.  In her closing remarks, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, expressed her gratitude to the government of Switzerland, the canton and city of Geneva and the staff and volunteers who had done so much to welcome the 4,000 participants throughout the week. “I would also like to thank our partners who organized the successful preparatory day events including the World Bank, the World Meteorological Organization, UNDP, OHRLLS, the International Science Council and our many stakeholders,” she said. “The Resilience Dividend has been the common thread running through our discussions as we seek to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework and achieve the seven targets by 2030. “This has been a week where pathways to exclusion have been fully explored because inclusion does matter if we are to achieve the Sendai targets and reduce the numbers of people affected by disasters in the same way that progress has been made on reducing mortality,” Ms. Mizutori told the Closing Ceremony in her capacity as co-chair. Taking note of the current place of implementation of the Sendai Framework, she said: “There is little doubt that we must accelerate our efforts and raise our level of ambition. The work of disaster risk reduction is vital to the overall success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “This week we also launched the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction – GAR2019 -  and it sends out a clear message that risk is more deeply embedded in the world around us than we previously realized. “We must go out from this Global Platform more convinced than ever that our cause is just and right, and raise our level of ambition to meet the challenge.”
16/05/2019
By Jovana MiocinovicA series of High Level Dialogues kicked off at the Global Platform yesterday with a discussion on progress made in implementing the global plan to reduce disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. To date, 116 countries have started using the Sendai Framework Monitor to report against their progress on reaching the seven Sendai targets. While noting that significant progress has been made in reducing mortality from disasters, Kirsi Madi, Director of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, noted that much more needs to be done on other targets, especially target (d) which relates to reducing damage to critical infrastructure. Ms. Madi said: “We should always strive for zero casualties in any disaster setting and continued improvements in multi-hazard early warning systems, disaster preparedness, risk governance and strengthened institutions, are all key to the successful implementation of the Sendai Framework. “Other metrics are not so good. We saw in Nepal and Haiti that where building codes are not implemented the consequences of a large earthquake can result in many lives lost and millions of people displaced and homeless. “Last year 17.2 million people were internally displaced by disasters, mainly extreme weather events. It is notable that almost twice as many people are displaced each year by natural hazards compared to conflict.” Setting the tone for the discussion and injecting urgency into the debate, Malina Mehra, “Nothing remains certain…Surprise is the new normal; expect the unexpected and prepare for it.” Participants at the high-level dialogue on the opening day of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 called for a broad and pluralistic approach to disaster risk reduction in today’s context of greater frequency of natural disasters and harmful effects of human activity on the environment and survival of species.  “We have to come to a single conclusion that development is impossible without eliminating risks,” noted Feliks Tsolakyan, Minister of Emergency Situations of Armenia. Despite the grim reality, speakers advocated optimism.  “There is a surge of youth activism, reminding us that the future is theirs and that they will fight for it,” Ms. Mehra noted.  The Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement have shifted the political context in response to socioecological and socioeconomic crises. They are hard fought achievements that call for the transformation of our world.  Member States were making greater effort to measure the disaster losses in order to have a benchmark and measure progress in the next 11 years in reducing losses, whereas the UN reforms for the 2030 Agenda mark important institutional reforms geared at multi-agency delivery.  “The responsibility was no longer on Member States, but on all of us,” Ms. Mehta emphasized. “Risk is everybody’s business.  Goodbye to the old hazard-by-hazard compartmentalized approach; hello to the new system of a broad pluralistic approach.”  The meeting also heard feedback from the 2018 regional platforms outcomes which were reported on individually in the news section last year. 
16/05/2019
By Omar H. AmachGENEVA, 16 May 2019 - The large-scale drop in disaster mortality in Bangladesh in recent times was due to a deliberate policy of promoting women's leadership in all sectors, a Special Session on Women Leadership was told yesterday at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, a Member of Parliament in Bangladesh, credited the reduction in disaster mortality to promoting women leadership and empowerment in all sectors - a move that he says helped propel Bangladesh’s ascension from a low income to middle income country: “Whether it is the reduction of poverty, child mortality, or primary education, when looking at women’s empowerment, it can’t be selective. There has to be a whole of society approach,” said Mr. Chowdhury Bangladesh has made its cyclone preparedness programme more inclusive of women. Women are involved in the design of early warning systems, the building of cyclone shelters, and in raising community awareness. This has managed to lower the ratio of female to male deaths by almost two-thirds. When disaster strikes, women are disproportionately impacted compared to men. In April 1991, when Bangladesh was hit by a powerful cyclone, 90% of those killed were women, and four times more women were killed in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami than men. In Europe, more women died as a result of the 2003 heatwave than men. The central message of the Special Session was that committing to a strong focus on gender in disaster risk reduction, ensuring women’s leadership at all levels and recognizing their contribution to disaster risk governance is critical to achieving the ambitious targets set out in the Sendai Framework. In Malaysia, empowering women is a national priority for reducing the country’s disaster risk, according to Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail: “Currently 30% of the senior positions in the Government of Malaysia are filled by women. Our goal is to have 50% of the disaster risk management positions filled by women.” Women are powerful influencers of change in their families and communities, and when given leadership positions, can bring about transformational change, according to Ms. Mami Mizutori, Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. She spoke in particular about the leadership of Ms. Doris Ombara, a City Manager in the Kenyan city of Kisumu which she has transformed into a role model for inclusive disaster risk reduction.  Ms. Ombara mobilizes the women of the city to become active participants in their city’s resilience: “She talks to the women in the city. They know what the issues are and show them to the City Manager. She in turns fixes them. This is leadership at the top and leadership at the bottom.” The Special Session concluded that more must be done to ensure women are at the centre of decision-making and implementation of DRR strategies. Such an approach is more likely to create solutions that are sustainable, inclusive and transformational.
16/05/2019
GENEVA, 16 May 2019 – The Department of Civil Defence of Campinas, Brazil, the Mahila Housing Sewa Trust, India, and Dr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, are the three laureates of the 2019 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction. They have been recognised for initiatives which protect vulnerable communities from disaster risk.  The winners were announced today by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Mami Mizutori at an Awards ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, during the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, convened by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). “Disasters where natural hazards negatively impact people are coming faster, lasting longer and hitting harder. The people impacted the most are those who have done the least to cause these significant changes – the poorest. Nothing lays bare inequality and discrimination like a disaster. While developed countries suffer in terms of absolute economic losses, it is largely the vulnerable and poor who pay the human cost in terms of loss of life, injury and displacement. “I thank the Nippon Foundation, the 61 nominees and the jury members who have been steadfast in their commitment to inclusivity and recognizing the rights of the most vulnerable. I am pleased to recognize projects and individuals which have made an enormous contribution in integrating the most vulnerable in disaster risk reduction activities.”   The 2019 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction recognized for the first time projects and initiatives undertaken by institutions and individuals that made a substantial contribution towards more building inclusive and resilient societies.  “We received many excellent projects, and the choice was not easy to make but the finalists are the ones who demonstrated the most durable, sustained and comprehensive and inclusive approach towards disaster risk reduction.” Ms. Marcie Roth, jury member and President and CEO of Inclusive Emergency Strategies LLC. UNDRR received 61 nominations from 31 countries. Two organizations and one individual were awarded: The Department of the Civil Defence of Campinas in Brazil was chosen for its unique sustainable community approach towards more inclusiveness, its strong local leadership and the active participation of all vulnerable groups in mapping and mitigating risks. The Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, India, was recognized for its innovative and inclusive approach bringing together scientific and indigenous knowledge and empowering women living in slum districts and enhancing the resilience of entire families against recurrent disasters including children, older persons and persons living with disabilities. Mr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, popularly known as PK Mishra, was awarded for a lifetime of dedication to improving the resilience of communities most exposed to floods and drought, and his personal commitment to social inclusion as a critical principle to reduce inequality and poverty, enhancing the safety net of the socially and economically marginalized. The United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction was created more than 30 years ago and is jointly organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Nippon Foundation. A total grant of US$50,000 is distributed among the winners.
15/05/2019
By Denis McCleanGENEVA, 15 May, 2019 - The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction opened in Geneva today with the focus on raising levels of ambition when it comes to reducing disaster risk in a world where vulnerability and exposure is dramatically on the rise. Four years after the adoption of the Sendai Framework – the global plan to reduce disaster losses - 116 UN Member States are reporting against the seven targets including those for reducing mortality, reducing the numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure. Speaking on the opening day, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, said while there is promising progress in many areas “time is running out for a world at risk…threats that were considered inconceivable, no longer are.” At the Welcome Ceremony, she said: “Over the first four years of the Sendai Framework we have also seen how prescient it was that the text expanded the traditional limits of disaster risk reduction beyond natural hazards to include man-made hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.” Ms. Mizutori called for accelerated efforts to implement the Sendai Framework and lamented the fact that “the bar is being raised for resilience with every day that passes without progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” She continued: “One vital sign of the Sendai Framework’s ability to impact on the world will be the achievement of target (e) by next year when we want to see a substantial increase in the number of national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction. “The composition and implementation of these strategies will also be clear evidence of the DRR community’s commitment to coherence with other elements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.” Global Platform co-chair, Manuel Sager, Secretary of State, Switzerland, said: “Our conference this week will focus on key elements for achieving the targets of the Sendai Agenda and the SDGs: taking stock of progress made, risk-informed investment, and the impact of climate change. “We all know, investment in DRR yields multiple benefits in averted losses. But, we have to act on this knowledge and increase DRR in our development work with more determination.” In a video message, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, urged participants at the Global Platform to craft new and ambitious commitments to prevent disasters and tackle climate change. “Our very survival depends on it,” she said. The welcome session attended by representatives of 150 UN Member States also heard a call for engaging with young people in a meaningful way in implementing the Sendai Framework. “It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Un Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake. Michael Moller, Director of the UN Office in Geneva recalled that the last time the Global Platform was held in Geneva, was in 2013 and consultations on the text of the Sendai Framework were well underway and “today the Global Platform is convening to consider where progress has been made and what further efforts are required to ensure the Sendai Framework is fully implemented by 2030. “The UN family here in Geneva recognizes that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and successful action on climate change without mainstreaming disaster risk reduction across all our activities.”
15/05/2019
GENEVA, May 15th 2019 The world faces new, emerging, and much larger threats than ever before, linked to climate change, environmental degradation, and the growing potential for one disaster to produce or exacerbate another, says a new report from the United Nations. The Global Assessment Report 2019 (GAR2019) published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, outlines major risks to human life and material property, ranging from air pollution and biological hazards, through to earthquakes, drought, and climate change. “Extreme changes in planetary and socioecological systems are happening now; we no longer have the luxury of procrastination. If we continue living in this way, engaging with each other and the planet in the way we do, then our very survival is in doubt,” said Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction. UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF GROWTH The report warns that unsustainable patterns of economic activity hide the build-up of systemic risks across sectors citing for example, dangerous overdependence on single crops in an age of accelerating global warming. “We witness severe inequalities of burden sharing between low and high income countries, with the poorest bearing the highest toll and greatest costs of disasters. Human losses and asset losses relative to GDP tend to be higher in the countries with the least capacity to prepare, finance and respond to disasters and climate change, such as in small island developing States,” the report argues. There is growing potential for one disaster to produce or exacerbate another as happens often in the case of heavy rains which trigger landslides and mudslides following wildfires or periods of long drought, says the new report launched at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. SDGs If governments do not adopt appropriate strategies to manage risk, then these threats could slow or even reverse progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably eradicating poverty and hunger, and action on climate change. “The human race has never before faced such large and complex threats. The doubling of extreme weather events over the last twenty years is further evidence that we need a new approach to managing disaster risk if we are to limit disaster losses. Economic losses are making it an uphill battle to hold on to development gains in low and middle income countries,” said SRSG Mizutori. “At the same time, the resilience gap between rich and poor is made worse by poorly-planned urbanization, environmental degradation and population growth in disaster exposed areas which add to a complex cocktail of risk which drives internal displacement and migration in search of a better life.” ADOPTING THE SENDAI FRAMEWORK The report urges governments to put the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction into action, shifting focus from disaster management to reducing risk. Adopted by UN Member States in 2015, the Sendai Framework aims to reduce the impact of disasters in terms of mortality, numbers of people affected, and economic loss. It requires governments to understand disaster risk, strengthen disaster risk governance, invest in resilience, and enhance disaster preparedness. According to the last Global Assessment Report in 2015, annual global investments of USD 6 billion in appropriate disaster risk reduction strategies would generate total benefits of USD 360 billion each year. “We must recognize that an international development financing system that allocates approximately 20 times the funding to emergency response, reconstruction, relief and rehabilitation activities rather than prevention and preparedness, acts counter to sustainability principles,” SRSG Mizutori added. COMPLEX INTERACTIONS The complexity of our global economy and the interactions between human and natural systems means that one disaster can quickly provoke another. Population growth and rising consumption are set to put more pressure on the world’s ecosystems than ever before. Drought is likely to emerge as a complex risk due to its wide-ranging, slow building, and cascading impacts. Drought can affect agriculture, water supply, energy production, transport, tourism, health, biodiversity, and ecosystems.  A special report on drought will be published in 2020. To read the whole report and access all materials visit: https://gar.unisdr.org
14/05/2019
By Jovana MiocinovicGENEVA, 14 May, 2019 - Visionary leadership and good governance are the cornerstones of resilient and sustainable development in small island developing states (SIDS). In particular, government representatives and partners on the frontline of escalating climate and disaster risk identified the need to for much more women’s leadership at all levels and across all sectors of climate and disaster resilience. The Small Island States Resilience Initiative Practitioners’ Network (SISRI) agreed that stronger engagement of women and a greater emphasis on inclusion, in general, was the foundation of more integrated – and effective – climate and disaster resilience. They met over two days as part of the build-up to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which opens tomorrow. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Ms Mami Mizutori told delegates: “Inclusion is the hallmark of good disaster and climate risk governance and so often it has been SIDS who have led the way in this regard. “Your challenges are often unique and indeed more extreme than for many other nations. At the same time your innovation and resolve to address these difficulties is a shining example to the wider international community.” Bernice Van Bronkhorst, Director of the Climate Change Group at the World Bank highlighted the importance of gender: “A single disaster could wipe out a decade of investments. Gender is critically important to this agenda; by including women and young women you can change gender norms ... and roles in community,” However, one of the challenges was to persuade men to provide space for female leadership, according to Dolores Devesi, Country Director of Oxfam Solomon Islands and member of the Solomon Islands National Protection Committee.  Participants agreed that SIDS faced common challenges to scale up resilience efforts because of the challenge of extreme hazard exposure combined with vulnerability, limited capacity and relative isolation and poor connectivity. Health challenges, pollution and waste management, depletion of ecosystems and biodiversity, food security and forced migration were among the issues that were commonly faced across the globe in island states. Mary Alalo, Project Coordinator of the Solomon Islands Community Resilience to Climate and Disaster Risk Project painted a vivid picture of the reality at country level across SIDS globally. “Building resilient communities is not easy; it requires hard work, flexibility, cooperation, understanding, and total commitment from the government, sectors, communities, project management units and donors,” she said. Participants agreed that moving forward required a renewed approach to networking and collaboration to further promote greater female leadership, more of South-South cooperation, and more contact with the affected populations through field visits. The two-day SISRI forum featuring was co-organized by the European Commission (EC), World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Islands Developing States (UN-OHRLLS)

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