Prevention Is Better Than A Cure: Making Global Crises Less Risky

Hands Holding a Small Globe --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The meeting opened by asking what lessons have been learned and what actions can be taken regarding successful crisis mitigation.

Ms. Kaffa-Jackou spoke about her country Niger, which is a landlocked and least-developed country where 75% of it is desert. This leaves a region that is subject to recurring droughts, growing terrorist activity, and epidemics. One successful program started in Niger is the 3N initiative which not only bolsters early warning mechanisms towards climate change and food insecurity, but also establishes dedicated productive agriculture among farmers to later distribute to other Nigerians in need. This involves also teaching farmers in most affected areas of desertification to improve the quality of soil and prevent disease. They have also started to use drip crops using irrigation systems.

Mr. Waglé focused on the systemic problems. For example, in Nepal, six months after the earthquake, not one dollar of contributed aid had been applied towards recovery. An effective risk management system at the national and global levels needs to be established, along with the balance between preparation and coping. The distinction between development aid and restoration aid should be more blurred, as many restoration projects will take years, and thus become part of the country’s development.

Mr. Anthony gave a presentation about CCRIF’s successful crisis mitigation model for the Caribbean, which has been copied in other areas of the world. It has provided parametric insurance for Caribbean governments which has been able to consistently make payment of financial liquidity within 14 days after a catastrophe. It would be terrific to have one ultra-viable organization that has been renamed to pool risk across the world.

The speakers from the LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDs expounded on the many dangers their countries are facing. Mr. Sareer said one “cannot think of disaster reduction separately from climate change.”

Meeting: Panel discussion on “A crisis mitigation and resilience building mechanism for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States”

Date/Location: Friday, October 29, 2015; 10:00-13:00, Conference Room 2

Speakers: Chaired by Ms. Chantal Uwizera (Rwanda), Rapporteur of the Second Committee Moderator; Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; Her Excellency Rakiatou Christelle Kaffa-Jackou, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigerian Abroad, Republic of Niger; Mr. Swarnim Waglé, former Member of the National Planning Commission, Nepal; Mr. Isaac Anthony, Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF); His Excellency Abulkalam Abdul Momen (Bangladesh), Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries; Her Excellency Mwaba Patricia Kasese-Bota (Zambia), Chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries; His Excellency Ahmed Sareer (Maldives), Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States

Written by: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: http://laurazera.com/speaking/

Sustainable Development and Community Resilience

United Nations, New York Headquarters, 9 January 2014

Mr. Marcus Oxley opened the discussion on sustainable community resilience by asking member states and the United Nations body to help strengthen community resilience against the negative impacts of soil erosion and land degradation. He further explained the results of shock and stress on the earth having a negative impact on climate change. Mismanaged urbanization and resource management have left the poorest and most vulnerable people in a devastating position. Ms. Margaret Barahaihi opened her statements by advocating for small-scale disaster management. She elucidates that vulnerable people, who have no access to basic needs, tend to suffer more during small scale disasters. She suggested long term programs and flexibility, while still taking into account the environmental uncertainty. She also suggested that women and children be at the center of decision-making. Dr. Barahaihi closed her statements by saying, “Central government involvement is critical to improvement.”

Ms. Diah Saminarsh was keen to align her statements with Ms. Barahaihi on the issues of small-scale disasters in poor countries. She suggested that poverty and inequality push people to take shelter in places that are risky, for example: hillsides, marginal lands, and floodplains. She explained that even though developed countries have more to lose financially during natural disasters, the disasters take a deeper toll in developing countries. For example, the 2011 earthquake in Japan was the most expensive natural disaster in history. It cost Japan $200 billion dollars which equals to 3% of Japan’s GDP; while the earthquake in Haiti has been estimated to cost around $15 billion dollars, which is equivalent to 160% of Haiti’s GDP. Ms. Saminarsh gave some final seeds of resilience including social cohesion, integration of local wisdom, and critical awareness.

haiti_time_z_01Ms. Hiller from Oxfarm opened with a compelling argument by saying that disasters derail development. She used UN research statistics to prove her point, saying that over the past 20 years, disasters from natural hazards have affected 4.4 billion people, claimed 1.3 million lives, and caused $2 trillion USD in economic losses. She complains that governments have failed to adequately prioritize and invest in good risk management of disasters. Unsuitable development such as unplanned urbanization is a key driver of an increasing disaster risk. Her proposed solution was to invest in disaster risk reductions, build the peoples resilience, while also reducing the impact of disasters on the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable. She proposed integrating the principles of community resilience into the post 2015 development framework. These principles include: participation, inclusion, learning, self-organization, accountability, responsiveness, collaboration, partnerships, and living within social and environmental boundaries.

Meeting Title: Risk-proofing the SDG’s: why development will not be sustainable without building community resilience

Key Speakers: Chair, Marcus Oxley, Director, Global Network for Disaster Reduction; Margaret Barahaihi, Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance Coordinator, Uganda; Diah Saminarsh, Assistant President’s Special Envoy on MDGs, Office of President’s Special Envoy on MDG’s, Indonesia; Hepi Rahmawati, Program Manager, YAKKUM Emergency Unit Indonesia; Debbie Hillier, Humanitarian Policy Adviser, Oxfam, Representative of Act Alliance.

Written by WIT Representative: Modou Cham