#gpdrr13 – my thoughts

#gpdrr13 – my thoughts

[I’ll be adding to this post as the #gpdrr13 continues during this week]

I was introduced to the Hyogo Framework for Action many years ago by Phillip Buckle, but working in the UK, I haven’t had much call to use it directly. However, the Civil Contigencies Act is a clear example of where legislation has enabled some action towards acheivement of the Millennium Development Goals.

gpdrr

Interestingly, it seems like legislation isn’t the only aspect whcih seems to influence the ability of countries to implement HFA; with discussions at the plenary session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction this afternoon, revealing some other challenges. I was however, more interested to see the future direction of HFA2, and specifically, I noted the following.

Transboundary Risks

Margareta Wahlström mentioned that the most used word of the day was local – whilst that’s undoubtedly important, there should also be a recognition of ‘global village’ risks.

In July 2012 the Emilia Romagna earthquake hit the headlines for a variety of reasons. One of which was a shortage of dialysis tubing in the UK as a result of disruption to manufacturing in Italy. So in addition to our systems being complexly linked to each other, they’re also increasingly linked internationally.

Another example of this was the recent horse meat scandal. It quickly became apparent that the products that we buy on the shelves have often travelled far and wide. This complexity is a feature of modern life but understanding it means that we’re better prepared when there is a problem.

Role of Science

There’s that old addage that to manage something you have to be able to measure it. Data accessibility is a considerable challenge in disaster management. There are attempts to classify and codify disasters and record their impact in terms of fatalities and economic cost. However they’re all open to interpretation (often being drawn from secondary sources or entries only included where a nation has declared a National Emergency), and it’s by no means a complete record.

This makes the process of risk assessment and learning from past incidents challenging.

Data and science were also mentioned in terms of developing models experiments, tools and technology to assist in prevention, detection, response and recovery. And the need to integrate human sciences as well as physical sciences was specifically highlighted.

Community

I think it’s a given that we all recognise that disasters affect communities. What seems to be more challenging is to engage those communities in disaster risk reduction work. If experience internationally is anything like my experience in the UK, there’s actually a precursor question about the identification of these communities.

It was noted that there should be effort towards developing closer association between public and private sector and I was interested in a presentation from Japanese colleagues regarding the role of sport in developing resilience.

The other aspect that was flagged for inclusion of minority groups, gender issues, and impacts of demographic changes to be at the centre of disaster risk reduction policies and HFA2.

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