The first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom1) of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held from 14-15 July 2014 in Geneva. IRDR Executive Director Rüdiger Klein was asked to lead, on behalf of ICSU, the delegation of the Science and Technology Major Group (STMG) at this meeting of UN member states’ delegations in Geneva, and to deliver the jointly agreed statement of the Major Group to the plenary assembly on 14 July. ICSU has been appointed as the UN’s Organising Partner (OP) for the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group for the WCDRR. In this role, ICSU is responsible for the coordination of the scientific community’s participation in the discussions and the meetings during the preparatory phase and at the conference itself wherein IRDR, as part of the broader ICSU family, is a major contributor to this process.
Klein highlighted the importance of mutual reinforcement of strategies for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development, as well as the critical need for capacity building in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, without, neglecting the exposure of middle and high income countries. Three additional statements were delivered on behalf of the STMG. Virginia Murray delivered a statement in the first Chair’s dialogue with the Major Group stressing the many contributions that science has been making towards disaster risk reduction and the need for strengthening and scaling up science in HFA-2, including through an international science advisory mechanism to support evidence-based decision-making and access to scientific information at different scales. In the second Chair’s dialogue with Major Groups, Irasema Alcántara Ayala identified the role that science can play in promoting a holistic and integrated approach to sustainable development, climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction. Alik Ismail-Zadeh emphasised the need for a science-driven approach to monitor, understand, and assess disaster risks at all levels. To this end, he called for an international science advisory mechanism, for strengthening integrated research on disaster risks, and for a periodic scientific assessment of disaster risks.
A major outcome of PrepCom1 is the joint statement by UN agencies, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Bank supporting explicitly the “establishment of an international science advisory mechanism to strengthen the evidence base for the implementation and monitoring of the new framework”. See full statement here: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/globalplatform/jointunstatement%5B1%5D.pdf.
The Business and Industry Major Group also expressed interest in collaborating with the STMG around a five-point agenda:
- Developing simple disaster risk metrics easily understood by business and policy makers
- Mainstreaming DRR in business and policy planning, ensuring a systematic approach to DRR and resilient investments
- Ensuring that laws, rules, norms and regulations are in place and conducive to resilient investments
- Sharing data and enhancing risk modelling, through a close collaboration with the Science and Technology community
- Ensuring that HFA-2 provide a transformational and catalytic agenda
The Second Session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee will take place on 17 and 18 November and will consider the zero draft text of the post-2015 framework. It is the culmination of a process started two years ago that has involved over 150 consultations worldwide.