Mark Pelling on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Over the last week Professor Mark Pelling has been at the Sendai World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction as part of the UN Science and Technology major group delegation. The Conference has now passed the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. In addition to Mark, Geography at King’s was represented by PhD student Erin Roberts in her role as a climate change loss and damages expert. Most impressive perhaps was the presence of eight alumni from the MA Disasters Adaptation & Development (DAD) programme with leading roles in the NGO and government processes including Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Tearfund, Red Cross, Global Network for Disaster Reduction (GNDR), YCARE and Health England. A wonderful recognition of the contribution of the DAD programme to international policy development on disaster risk reduction – its core mission.

After a 30 hour final session the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, first of the post-2015 agreements, has now been accepted.

These are Mark’s thoughts on the implications of the Sendai Framework:

Compared with the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) there is an enhanced role for science and knowledge including explicit mention of coproduction. Modeling and early warning remain the emphasis but there is good recognition of wider social process, including culture. Root cause analysis is not strongly present. There is renewed emphasis on training and within this on integrated approaches. This is brought together under the first of four themes: Understanding Risk.

Outside of science there is new recognition of sub-state actors, though cities are not flagged as a major focus for risk and its reduction. Multi-hazards are mentioned and feed into the overall ambition for integrated policy.

Resilience is not too prominent in the document, and instead building back better is used, here though there is an orientation towards integrating DRR into development, not bringing development into DRR – a missed opportunity, but also a difficult concept to get across in a drr document.

Climate change is mentioned in the framing preamble but then bypassed. There is also surprisingly little mention of fragile states/conflict.

The document includes a number of targets but these are non-specific aiming for ‘susbstantial’ changes.

Now work begins on developing indicators to track progress, and in the UK to follow-up on the science. The RCUK lead on hazards John Rees was present throughout. I was also able to talk to our UK Disasters Consortium science vision document and this was circulated through the International Science Union (ICSU) and Science and Technology Major Group stand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *