Summary: 9 February 2011, New York - Intervention by the European Union at the Informal thematic debate of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Disaster Risk Reduction
Panel 1- Invest today for safer tomorrow
Being confronted to the impact of the escalating number of natural disasters, there is a need for increased global efforts towards integrating disaster risk reduction and the concept of adaptation to climate change within both humanitarian operations and development cooperation.
The EU fully subscribes to the global ISDR agenda and its objectives. Strengthening the connection between climate change and natural disaster policies, and between adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies is essential in order to mitigate the impact of disasters.
We all know that investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities before a disaster takes place pays significant dividends compared to paying for relief, recovery, and reconstruction afterwards. But we need to improve the knowledge base on disasters including their costs and we need clear and transparent assessments of the risks we face.
We fully share the Secretary General’s view that there is evidence of greater investment needs in disaster risk reduction as expressed in the findings of the report on the Mid-Term Review of the Hyogo Framework to be discussed at the third Global Platform in May 2011.
However, we are confronted with an enormous gap between current and needed spending, the difficulty in increasing funds at the requested level of spending and the strong competition for funding between the different sectors.
As regards funding, we believe that links between development and climate change adaptation funding must be further developed. Disaster risk reduction approaches to building resilient economies and societies offer concrete opportunities for climate change adaptation and could be more clearly recognized in adaptation funding instruments.
Our commitment to integrate risk components into developing planning is highlighted by the 60 M€ contribution towards DRR mainstreaming in ACP countries that has been programmed through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) managed by the Word Bank.
We could also explore innovative instruments. In this regard, the EU is currently looking into a possibility of using some expertise in risk management that is held by the insurance and re-insurance industries.
In this context, we would be interested to hear the panellists views in the following questions:
1. How to adapt existing DRR and adaptation funding mechanisms and actions in order to respond more efficiently to the changing needs of the vulnerable people?
2. How can we improve and increase the capacity, role and activity of the mechanisms and platforms which have been created and bring in more partners, including regional and country-level representatives?
3. Which are the incentives for convincing policymakers, businesses and general public to invest in DRR/Climate change adaptation?
4. How can we ensure an efficient use of the funds while matching the absorption capacity of the beneficiary?