The Sendai Framework on DRR has a global target of “substantially reducing the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015”. This is among the seven global targets agreement upon by States. ACT (Action of Churches together) Alliance, a coming together of about 140 faith-based organizations across the globe, is among those stakeholders who committed to work to reduce vulnerabilities by increasing “public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment” as stated in the third priority area for action of the SFDRR.
ACT Alliance has activated communities of practice across 4 major regions Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin and Central America and Europe to significantly increase the proportion of its humanitarian investment that goes to community preparedness, prevention and resilience, with a target that over 10% of ACT Alliance programming should be invested in emergency preparedness and risk reduction especially at the grassroots and community level. ACT Alliance does so with knowledge that investing in resilience, we will give due attention to the root causes of vulnerabilities, such as inequalities and injustices, that make vulnerable more at risk to disaster-related hazards.
However, as we do our share, ACT Alliance realizes that more needs to be done in addressing root causes of vulnerabilities if resilience, that empowers, is to be achieved. Thus, ACT Alliance calls on States and other stakeholders to (1) recognize the value of empowerment and enhancing social capital and social safety nets in addressing disaster-related risks. Investing on entitlements that affirm human rights and dignity are key to reducing vulnerabilities to evolving and powerful natural and human-induced hazards humanity now face.
We also recognize that our attempts to address disaster risks will not be sufficient to prevent disasters unless there is a clear recognition of the role climate change plays in increasing vulnerabilities and in the creation of disasters. Our partner communities living near the glaciers of the Andes suffer not only from flooding due to the fast-melting glaciers, but also long-term food insecurity due to lack of water for agriculture from the melting ice caps that once regularly nourish their fields. There are many communities in the various continents now threatened by climate-related hazards especially where temperatures have risen to create heat waves and creeping drought, cyclones that are increasing in intensity, increased heavy precipitation that evolve to destructive floods. ACT Alliance calls for the (2) recognition of the synergy between the implementation of the SFDRR, the Paris Climate Agreement, the WHS Commitments to Action and the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of implementing these frameworks in a manner that is pro-poor, ambitious, equitable, gender sensitive and human rights based.
The projected disasters in the near future can still be addressed only if (3) investments from the public and private sectors are significantly increased to address root causes of vulnerabilities such inequality-related poverty. Furthermore, providing (4) the enabling environment for innovations to address disaster-related risks and (5) the access to technologies that address practical and strategic risks like water security in the face of droughts and slow-onset hazards (such as those happening in Africa or displacement, loss and damage to economic and non-economic assets due to rapid onset events such as those happening in Asia-Pacific) will increase capacities to address challenges.
(6) Meaningful and substantive engagement of civil society organizations especially faith-based organizations provide the opportunity to reach the most at risk communities, even in remote conditions, and engage them in resilience-building. Organizations, such as those engaged in ACT Alliance, have made it their core mandate to be with the most vulnerable. While the contribution of faith-based organizations to risk reduction and resilience-building is invisible to many, faith-based and other community-based and managed organizations have continued to stand witness to the power of faith and social capital in the face of disaster and climate-related risks.
Together, and with a common aim of reducing loss of lives and assets, we can achieve a more sustainable development through determined risk reduction and resilience-building.