Leaders’ Declaration at the end of G20 summit in New Delhi has underscored the criticality of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and building disaster resilience in the riskier times of an increasingly warming planet. It reflects a strong commitment from leaders of the world’s major economies to ensure full implementation of the Sendai Framework, notes Sanjay Srivastava, Chief of DRR at the Bangkok-based UN-ESCAP. 

Sendai Framework Target G - Asia and Pacific

Sendai Framework Target G - Asia and Pacific | Photo Credit: UNDRR Bonn Office (February 2023)

Enhancing coverage 

The outcome document of the G20 Working Group on DRR recommends enhancing universal coverage of multi-hazard early warning systems and strengthening an early and anticipatory action by promoting investments, taking into account specific needs and contexts of different regions and importance of a transboundary approach, Srivastava wrote to businessline. Moving forward, the Governments of Asia and the Pacific have been mandated to develop regional early warning systems. 

No standalone issue

DRR is not a standalone issue but an integral part of addressing interconnected challenges of resilience-building, Srivastava said. It was for the first time India’s Presidency established a working group to integrate DRR across the G20 and in support of developing countries. The main objective is to integrate risk reduction measures into public and private sector investment decisions and policy making to reduce existing risk, prevent creation of new risk and ultimately build resilient economies, societies, and natural systems.

Asia-Pacific bears brunt

“Nowhere is the urgency to implement DRR efforts more palpable than in Asia and the Pacific, the most disaster-impacted region in the world. Climate-induced and other disasters have claimed two million lives since 1970, with the poorest in the least developed countries bearing the brunt of the devastating impacts of natural hazards,” Srivastava said quoting from the Leaders’ Declaration. More than 80 per cent of Asia-Pacific’s population is exposed to multiple hazards. 

Top national priority 

Paragraph 46 of the Declaration committed itself to expediting progress on early warning and early action through strengthening national and local capacities, innovative financing tools, private sector investment, and knowledge sharing. Echoing the Secretary-General’s initiative on Early Warnings for All,’ the Working Group listed ‘global coverage of early warning systems’ as top priority. All countries, including emerging/developing/least developed countries and small island developing states, will be encouraged to promote disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure systems, Srivastava noted.