The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

This is a post about “Disaster Risk Reduction: Government to Governance”, a debate that took place in the framework of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (Geneva, May 19-23). Speakers were:

– Walter Ammann, President of the Global Risk Forum, Davos (Download Presentation)

– Lai Hongzhou, Mistry of Civil Affairs, P.R. China (Download Presentation)

– Marco Ferrari, former chair of the drafting committee for the Hyogo Framework for Action, Board member Global Risk Forum (Download Presentation)

– Shi Peijun, Beijing Normal University and Integrated Risk Governance Prject, Beijing (Download Presentation)

– Saber Chowdhury, Bangladesh, chair of the standing committee on Peace and International Security of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. (Download Presentation)

Here, courtesy of Ye Qian, a brief summary:

  1. Although there are great achievements in dealing with disasters at various scales worldwide, with major contributions from science and technology, there is still room for improvement in traditional fields, and there are major challenges for new emerging issues. For example, the impacts of many disasters now cross boundaries of countries. Therefore, a paradigm shift is needed for governments from an ex-post disaster centered approach, i.e., intervention and recovery coordinated by political authority, to disaster governance, which is a decision-making process including all kinds of stakeholders with explicit consideration of scales.
  2. In the past two decades, many countries, for example, China, have made significant progress in institutional, legal, financial and social structures dealing with disasters. There is, however, a lack of scientific ways to measure the progresses of national capacities in disaster prevention, mitigation, rescue, recovery, etc. Innovations in raising overall awareness, developing legal frameworks, implementing financial systems to transfer risks, and guaranteeing political accountability are urgently needed.
  3. To help governments make better decisions and policies for disaster risk governance, developing a comprehensive and systematic governance framework at multiple scales is the key issue. The role of stakeholders in each system must be clearly defined, especially when dealing with disaster chains.
  4. So far, great efforts have been made on identifying the problems, issues and possible measures in disaster risk reduction. A core issue of governance is how to help governments to really implement such measures.
  5. Although great efforts have been made by UNISDR and other UN agencies on bridging the worlds of scientists and policy makers, less work has been done on developing usable toolboxes as well as teams of “sales people” who have a multidisciplinary background, are really knowledgeable and capable to communicate with other stakeholders.


This debate is especially important in view of the process by which the UN international strategy for disaster risk reduction will further enhance the basis provided by the Hyogo Framework for Action on disasters.


3 thoughts on “The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction”

  1. Thank you for this concise but rich discussion on translating government policies into governance.

    I particularly appreciated the change in paradigm as suggested by Mr. Ferrari.

    In parallel to the request of one of the participants of the side event, I would highly appreciate if you could post either on this website or on the GP2013 web page, the presentations from Prof. Ferrari and Prof. Peijun that contrary to the explanation set in the meeting is not yet posted on the GP side event website.

    Thank you

  2. Having recently visited the UNISDR people in Nairobi (just prior to the terrorist incident) it was interesting to hear their perspective on modelling for policy. The comment 1 suggests an international approach which is precisely what the UNISDR is all about. This said, I found the UN’s documents rather hard to read. I would agree that we need to have good narratives to show successful case studies which use the available technology to reduce risks.

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