Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Final day #6AMCDRR - Release of the Bangkok Declaration

We are here in the great Convention Hall A of the Bangkok Convention Center, awaiting the SRSG and announcement of the successful 10-hour grueling drafting process yesterday of the Bangkok Declaration.

It has been an extraordinary week... in my opinion perhaps the most momentous platform since the first one in 2007.

I just received a copy of the declaration...everyone has taken their places, and we are beginning...

Download it here

This document has undergone intensive consultations over the past two years...including by IGOs, NGOs, and many stakeholder groups...highlights here:
  • development and implementation of strategies for integration of climate change, sustainable development and DRR - towards building resilience of communities and nations - focusing on the local level
  • prevent and reduce risk
  • partner with private sector
  • ensure social inclusion
  • strengthen measures for achieving resilience to disasters
  • strengthen role of women
  • promote use of science and technology
  • enhance risk, governance and accountability
Stakeholder Voluntary Commitments
  1. Civil Society voluntary commitments read by Many Gupta...highlighting a people-centered approach
  2. Disability Organizations securing a solid place in #DRR policy and decision making, and at the Sendai table
  3. IFRC hilghlights - continues support to inclusive DRR and building community resilience, assisting corporate partners, linking CSR initiatives with IFRC national societies
  4. Women's organizations, represented by Vishaka - we urge improvement in women's participation - minimum target of 30% in next high level discussions. Awareness raising amongst officials, piloting sex disaggregated data highlights.
  5. Mayors and local governments - President of the Local Association of Punjab - Highlights-technical guidelines for local governments, focusing on risk assessment, planning and implementation, promoting 'My City and Town are Getting Ready' with "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" slogan
  6. Media voluntary commitments - bridge gaps in communications which many stakeholders face... we serve wide audiences, including women, children and persons with disabilities.. we will proactively report before, during and after disasters.. Ensure radio and TV organizations are integrated into early warning and national and community levels... Engage media into national DRR activities so we can inform the public on risk prevention. Enhance journalist capacities... on the same..
  7. Children and youth - we represent 40% of Asian population - reading 5 concrete and concise commitments - and whose 'tenacious, dedicated advocacy' is 'admirable'
  8. Parliamentarians - Senator Rodriguez reads powerful highlights focusing on legislation, governance, manaagement of urbanization - need for new risk management appraoch that supports Post2015 agenda making DRM imperative to sustainable development
Women represent half the population, we are not just a 'vulnerable group'... Vishaka Hidellage

Bangkok Declaration being read...and subsequently adopted.  Floor was open to two final comments by participants. The first, a representative of the farmers of Bangladesh, noted the game-changing role of SRSG Margareta Wahlström in the building of a world-wide movement to build resilience...calling us to "Let us be a good human, while we are a DRR practitioner, supporting mother Earth to live longer..." Jonathan Schott, of a small Thai NGO Sustainable Development Foundation, expressed concern over a lack of civil society consultation before adoption of the Bangkok Declaration.

The plenary closed with award ceremonies, final words from the Thai Permanent Secretary, Ms. Wahlström, and a remarkable performance of modern dance and music.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Road to Sendai: 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

สวัสดีค่ะ sa-wat-dii, khâ -  A warm hello from Bangkok! I am here all week with some 2,500 5,000 delegates from more than 39 countries in Asia-Pacific who will be tasked to “shape future efforts to build more resilient communities and nations".

The outcome of this meeting will have long-term significance for the world at large as recommendations will feed into a new global agreement on disaster risk reduction (DRR), which will replace the current Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted in 2005 by all UN member-states following the Indian Ocean tsunami.   

"When Asia speaks on disaster risk management, the rest of the world listens. The region suffers more than 80 percent of the world’s disaster events", said Margareta Wahlstrom, UNISDR head and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on DRR. “Nine of the world’s 10 most significant natural disasters by fatalities last year occurred in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Japan and China. Some 14,500 lives were lost in tropical cyclones, floods,  heat waves and earthquakes." 

The meeting is the last of the series of regional platforms in the lead-up to the World Conference next March in Sendai, Japan. Second. It is one of the last multi-stakeholder meetings prior to the World Conference, (#WCDRR or 3WCDRR). As such, it's a key opportunity to feed into the drafting process of the second Hyogo Framework for Action (#HFA2).

There is an intense process going on of multiple streams of inputs into the Post-2015 process... and one of these inputs is the HFA2. The second will be a climate change agreement, and the third - the Millenium Development Goals. For more on where we are, I find this diagram really helpful:

Post-2015 process at a glance (Source:

I will be blogging live this week, and will post a number of interviews to give a flavour of the meeting and provide a glimpse of the happenings of the week. I am also conscious that there are a number of people who perhaps are not able to be in Bangkok but would like to, so please feel free to post, tweet or email questions and I will do my best to respond. So in this way I hope that my presence here would serve to help make the process in the road to Sendai just a bit more inclusive.

ขอขอบคุณคุณ - thanks...looking forward to sharing the week with you!