Chapter 10:    Regional support and national enabling environments for integrated risk reduction

10.1 Regional support for integrated risk reduction

The Sendai Framework calls on Member States to establish common platforms to exchange good practices and experiences relating to common and transboundary disaster risk, emphasizing the importance of regional and subregional DRR strategies and mechanisms for cooperation. In this way, regional cooperation is recognized as an important element in creating the enabling environment for effective DRR at national level, especially for small States and developing economies. 

While recognizing that Member States have the primary role in implementing the Sendai Framework, regional organizations are able to support efforts with regionally focused strategies and frameworks, tailored risk information, risk-sharing mechanisms, tools and capacity-building on DRR. They do this through pooling regional capacity and resources and also by accessing international funding and technical assistance. Regional organizations are especially important for smaller developing States, which do not individually have the economic means to invest in such a range of tools, but are more able to bring their voices and experience to regional processes in developing the systems and capacity most useful to them.

In most regions with high exposure to natural hazards there are already intergovernmental organizations and mechanisms in place for coordination on DRM. Therefore, the regional focus for supporting Sendai Framework implementation has been ensuring existing organizations have updated DRR mandates to align with the priorities and goal of the Sendai Framework. Specifically, regional intergovernmental organizations can play a practical role in national compliance with Target E, by building capacity and supporting the development and implementation of national and local DRR strategies and plans. They can also lead and support their Member States to integrate DRR into risk-informed development planning, CCA and risk financing, as well as agree on approaches and coordinate action on shared regional and transboundary risks.

In addition to treaty-based regional organizations, the regional platforms on DRR facilitated by UNISDR to consult with and support Member States are another important mechanism for information sharing and capacity-building to implement the Sendai Framework. Regional platforms became an established mechanism during the HFA years 2005-2015, and these continue under the Sendai Framework. They have already produced or approved important regional strategies and plans on Sendai Framework implementation, also engaging at the political level with regional intergovernmental organizations.

10.1.1 Africa

Natural and human-made hazards in Africa, such as droughts, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, epidemics, environmental degradation and technological hazards are a springboard for disasters. Although efforts to reduce exposure and vulnerability, underpinned by accountability at all levels, are predicted to reduce disaster risks, economic losses are mounting and disasters have become a barrier to sustainable development. 

One of the two declarations adopted at the Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 2018 was the Tunis Declaration on Accelerating the Implementation of the Sendai Framework and the African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction.  This reaffirmed the urgency of implementing the strategy first adopted in 2004,  and supported the 2016 Programme of Action for the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa.  The Programme of Action had already received support at the political level.  

The Africa Programme of Action's objectives are to: (a) increase political commitment to DRR; (b) improve identification and assessment of disaster risks; (c) enhance knowledge management for DRR; (d) increase public awareness of DRR; (e) improve governance of DRR institutions; and (f) integrate DRR in emergency response management. It builds on the intergovernmental work on DRR of AU and the Regional Economic Communities in Africa.

The Programme of Action is specifically linked to reporting under the Sendai Framework, with the monitoring and reporting system validated through formal agreement with AU member States. The AU Commission monitors progress of Regional Economic Communities towards the Programme of Action goals, and then the Regional Economic Communities guide its implementation at the subregional level, in cooperation with their respective member States. Progress will be reviewed using existing global and regional monitoring systems and mechanisms, with each member State and Regional Economic Community expected to submit a biennial report through SFM. The reports generated will support the monitoring of progress under the Sendai Framework and the Programme of Action.  The monitoring information also supports DRR ministerial meetings, the Africa Regional Platform, the Africa Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction, and review processes and DRR programming at all levels. It is thus a multilevel regional mechanism that supports Member States with information and tools for implementation, facilitates subregional and regional cooperation through Regional Economic Communities and AU Commission roles and regional platforms, and also supports reporting under the Sendai Framework.

10.1.2 Americas and the Caribbean

The Americas and the Caribbean region is highly exposed to a range of natural hazards, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanoes. The El Niño and La Niña phenomena occur periodically, exacerbating the impacts of hydrometeorological events. 

The sixth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, held in June 2018, approved the Regional Action Plan for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework.  It is a non-binding plan that marks a step towards wider regional efforts to support countries build community resilience and reduce disaster risk and its impacts.  The action plan helps further the implementation of the Sendai Framework in the Americas and the Caribbean through the identification of regional initiatives that contribute to one or more of the Sendai Framework priority areas,  and it respects the whole-of-society approach that features prominently within the Sendai Framework. The initiatives it includes can be advanced collectively by Member States, civil society organizations, volunteers and other relevant actors.

Held as part of the same Regional Platform in 2018, the high-level ministerial meeting issued the Cartagena Declaration, which affirmed the region's political commitment to the Sendai Framework, including an integrated approach to the post-2015 agreements, and noted the importance of the Regional Action Plan. 

10.1.3    Arab States

Historically, the Arab region has been exposed to seismic activity.  In recent history, it has faced challenges stemming from secondary risks linked to the displacement of people and migration trends, the spread of epidemics, food insecurity, conflict and civil unrest, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and water scarcity.  

The Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2030 was adopted in January and endorsed by Heads of State in April 2018 at the Arab League Summit.  The strategy is in alignment with the Sendai Framework and SDGs, and focuses on a multisectoral approach to substantially reduce disaster risk in the Arab region by 2030.  It is essentially a framework to foster progress in core agreed areas of implementation, and to produce a detailed programme of work across three phases until 2030. These will be implemented with various levels of cooperation with humanitarian and development partners.  An Extraordinary Session of the Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted the Phase I programme of work in January 2018. 

A biennial matrix for 2019-2020 defining a road map of time-bound regional targets was also finalized and adopted as an outcome document of the 2018 Africa-Arab Platform. That platform also adopted the Tunis Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction. 

The League of Arab States (LAS), represented by the Secretariat, coordinates further action on implementation of the regional strategy. Together with its technical organizations, LAS mainstreams DRR measures into projects and technical assistance programmes across the Arab States. 


10.1.4    Asia and the Pacific 

The Asia-Pacific region, given its geographic position, is highly exposed to hydrometeorological hazards as well as geological and human-made hazards. Although economically mixed, it has a high proportion of lower-income and developing economies, including the Pacific Islands. Several Asia-Pacific countries are also located within the "Pacific Ring of Fire", frequently threatened by strong earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.  Notwithstanding significant progress made in DRR, the Asia-Pacific region still accounts for half of the global disaster impacts with respect to frequency, mortality and affected people.  Hydrometeorological hazards, heightened by climate change, adversely affect social and economic development. It is therefore imperative to integrate DRR measures across development programmes and sectors, as well as in CCA. 

10.1.5 Europe and Central Asia

Much like other regions, Europe is exposed to a broad range of natural hazards such as earthquakes, droughts, floods, storms, avalanches and landslides, which persistently result in economic and human losses, as well as a range of technological hazards. In contradiction to its regional capacity, awareness of natural hazards and the existing knowledge base on DRR, data indicates that vulnerability to region-specific hazards is mounting. 

EU DRM policies have laid the groundwork to implement some of the Sendai Framework recommendations, including those on ongoing civil protection, development cooperation and humanitarian aid action.  For DRR within its civil protection system: "The EU's modus operandi in the field of DRR is very much the EU's footprint: it gathers its member states around a common policy, shows challenges that are shared by all the member states, points out that there is the need to solve these challenges together, and provides a set of answers in the form of guidelines, financial support, exchange of knowledge and experiences at national level." 

The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction Roadmap 2015-2020 was developed to guide Europe's implementation of the four priorities of action and seven global targets of the Sendai Framework, with the two identified priority areas of: (a) development or review of national- and local-level strategies for DRR, in line with Target E of the Sendai Framework, based on the building blocks of risk assessments and disaster loss databases and (b) integration of DRR into different sectors, especially climate change and the environment.  

For its part, the EC has adopted the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan [2016-2020]: A disaster risk-informed approach for all EU policies"to foster implementation of the Sendai Framework and other international agreements by supporting inclusion in EU policies. The action plan identifies, under each key area, a set of measures that could underpin a more integrated risk-informed policy landscape in the EU.  The key action plan implementation areas include: (a) building risk knowledge in EU policies, (b) using an all-of-society approach in DRM, (c) promoting EU risk-informed investments and (d) supporting the development of a holistic DRM approach.

The second CASC Sub Regional Platform held in 2018 had a subregional focus on DRR integrated with development planning.  The platform approved a Plan of Action,  a Roadmap for Cities  and the Yerevan Declaration containing political commitments to implement the Sendai Framework. The declaration has a focus on reaching Target E by 2020, but aims to do so "in coherence with the 2030 Development Agenda including the Paris Agreement on climate change, NUA and other relevant instruments, and to recognize the importance of engaging with local governments to implement and invest in DRR."

10.2 National enabling environments for integrated risk reduction

The subsequent chapters of this part focus on State practice in developing and implementing risk reduction strategies and plans at national and local levels, how these are established, how they interact with planning for development and CCA, and how they operate in urban settings and fragile contexts. This approach, and the extensive use of national and local case studies, recognizes that Member States have the primary role in implementing the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda and the other post-2015 agreements. Before addressing the plans and strategies, it is useful to highlight some aspects of national systems of government, law, culture and risk perception that can either enable or hinder risk reduction, and therefore the development and effective implementation of such plans. It is not possible to discuss these with any specificity at a global level, given the unique character of each country's sociopolitical and physical environment and risk profile. However, some key national factors are identified in the Sendai Framework, as they were also in HFA, that are larger than the specific targets and indicators and yet are also necessary enablers to achieve those targets.

The targets and priorities of the Sendai Framework emphasize the importance of understanding risk better, by improving risk information through monitoring, assessing, mapping and sharing (para. 14).  Priority 1 on understanding disaster risk brings this into focus as a fundamental aspect of reducing risk and preventing risk creation (paras. 21-25). Also reiterated throughout the Sendai Framework, continuing strongly from HFA, is the importance of -strengthening disaster risk governance and coordination across relevant institutions and sectors and the full and meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders at appropriate levels" (para. 14). This is a concept captured more fully under Priority 2 on strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk (paras. 26-28). These two aspects of the Sendai Framework require constant interaction between the creation of information and its use to reduce risk across all of society, including the most vulnerable, and with the participation of relevant stakeholders. These are the aspects of the Sendai Framework most relevant to enabling the development of well-informed national and local DRR strategies and plans as required by Target E, and to implementing them effectively.

Two other principles that run through the Sendai Framework need a mention in this context. The first is the issue of integration with the other post-2015 global agendas. This is not for the sake of conceptual neatness, but because the international community expressed through this and the other global agreements, the realization that integrated risk reduction and management, or a systems approach, is the only way to attain sustainable development in the face of disaster risk and climate change. The second is the issue of gender equality, more specifically empowering women in DRR, along with the broader notion of inclusiveness of people of all ages and abilities, as essential to understanding risk, risk perceptions and involving the whole community in deciding how to manage and reduce risk effectively. Youth and women become more of a focus when considering the Sendai Framework in light of the other agendas and the issues they address, including SDG 5 on gender equality and women's empowerment, and a heightened awareness of the need for intergenerational equity in responding to climate change and preventing disaster losses and shocks that can destroy young people's health, education and employment opportunities.

10.3 Conclusions

Regional and national frameworks are important aspects of the enabling environment for successful risk reduction by Member States.

Regional intergovernmental organizations, regional platforms on DRR and new forms of partnership within global regions allow Member States and other stakeholders to pool resources and capacities to support national and local risk reduction. They also provide mechanisms to focus on specific regional risks. The foregoing account indicates a high degree of engagement and activity at regional level to support implementation of the Sendai Framework. These processes are now at the stage, with strategies and mechanisms in place, where the focus can to shift to practical support for Member States' efforts in implementation, and also into regional and cross-border DRR.

The primary responsibility for Sendai Framework implementation lies with the Member States who adopted the agreement. The broader national framework of laws, policies and institutions for risk reduction, development and action on climate change have a significant impact on States' capacity to formulate and implement national and local strategies and plans on DRR, development and CCA. These overarching frameworks also play a significant role in empowering and including all stakeholders, establishing the basis for gender equality, and for including people and groups more exposed and more vulnerable to disaster impacts than the wider population in each country context. So the legal, policy and institutional structures and processes that include the views and experiences of women and girls, people with disabilities, older persons, and people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and which include protection measures for children, result in risk reduction at national and local levels that is more equal and more effective.

These enabling frameworks can be understood as the foundations for national and local plans for DRR, development, CCA and the emerging integrated approaches to risk reduction, which are discussed in the following chapters.


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