These catastrophes also remind us of the need for proactive and long-term disaster risk reduction (DRR) work. This helps reduce the disaster risk that communities are exposed to and the vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to impact.
During the period 1997–2016, just 4 per cent of Official Development Assistance (ODA) was spent on disaster prevention and preparedness, while 72 per cent was spent on emergency response. This needs to change. While it is vital that survivors receive the support they need to recover, it is even more important to help reduce the impact of a potential disaster before its onset.
Did you know that October 13 is the International Day for Disaster Reduction? This day was established in 1989 by the United Nations to ‘promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction’. How are the government and civil society in your country marking this day?
This could be an excellent opportunity for you to hold your government accountable to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030). This is a voluntary and non-binding agreement that UN member states adopted three years ago and succeeds the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The Sendai Framework stresses that it is the state’s (ie your national government’s) primary responsibility to prevent and reduce disaster risk, while also recognising the roles played by other stakeholders such as local government, private entities and civil society.
The UN has been promoting the seven targets of the framework through an advocacy campaign called the ‘Sendai Seven’. You can read more about each of the targets on the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s website. This year, the focus of the Sendai Seven campaign is on the third of the seven targets (target C), which is to reduce economic losses from disasters.