By Berta Acero
CAIRO, 23 November 2011 – The League of Arab States (LAS) and UNISDR move one step closer to a plan of action on disaster risk reduction for the Arab region. The action plan is expected to be endorsed at the first-ever Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Arab region planned for 2012.
Holding a series of consultations with disaster risk reduction experts in the region, UNISDR and LAS are developing the ‘Programme of Action’ to implement the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020.
“It’s our commitment to address disaster risk in a participatory manner. This first consultation will help us reach a common inter-agency position on the Programme of Action that will allow us to foster coordination and cooperation to implement the Strategy,” explained Amjad Abbashar, Head of UNISDR’s Regional Office for Arab States, during the first consultation meeting held in Cairo in October.
Representing the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Libya, Giordano Segneri said: “This gathering was a key opportunity to streamline the Programme of Action for the region. We also need to continue raising awareness on the link between sustainable development and disaster risk reduction. A closer integration would enhance the understanding of DRR and positively influence its positioning in the political agenda.”
The League of Arab States, with support from UNISDR, is leading efforts in integrating disaster risk reduction into sustainable development and climate change adaptation policies, as well as environment and disaster risk management coordination mechanisms. One of the results from LAS and UNISDR advocacy efforts is the ‘Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020’, which was adopted by the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment in early 2011.
The Strategy complements existing disaster risk reduction activities by national institutions and regional technical organizations. The aim of the Strategy and its implementing partners focuses on multi-sectoral approaches to reduce emerging risks across the Arab region by 2020. The Strategy is guided by the global priorities outlined in the Hyogo Framework for Action, a ten-year global blueprint for reducing disaster risk, and the Millennium Development Goals.
The first meeting on the Programme of Action, held from 15-16 October in Cairo, brought together representatives from the UN Economic Commission for Western Africa, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Development Programme, UN-HABITAT, International Organization for Migration, World Health Organization, World Food Programme, UN Environment Programme, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.