As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, Member States of the United Nations have agreed to put the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the centre of recovery and rehabilitation policy.
On 11 September 2020, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the "Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic". In adopting this resolution, Governments have called for the timely implementation of the Sendai Framework and the Bangkok Principles for the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework, in order to reduce the risk of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of disasters. The resolution emphasizes the need to invest in disaster risk reduction. Recognizing the link between natural and biological hazards and biodiversity loss, Member States committed to building resilience through disaster risk reduction and the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity and wildlife to reduce the likelihood of zoonotic infections and the impacts and costs of disasters.
Amidst the loss and destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery and rehabilitation provide an opportunity to change course and inject a preventative approach into development and its economic, social, and environmental policy. Supported by this decision of the General Assembly, the COVID-19 pandemic can be a watershed moment for disaster risk reduction in all sectors in all countries.
In his recent report to the General Assembly on theImplementation of the Sendai Framework, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, recommends that Member States apply the Sendai Framework to ensure a prevention-oriented and risk-informed approach to COVID-19 response and socioeconomic recovery. Recognizing that the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic has deepened poverty and exclusion while increasing vulnerability and exposure to climate change, the Secretary-General calls for recovery and reconstruction that tackle the underlying social, economic, and environmental drivers of disaster risk in an integrated and systemic manner.
UNDRR is organizing an online event for the General Assembly on 15 October where experts from academia, civil society, and national and local government will share experiences and discuss innovative approaches to disaster risk-informed development and integrating the Sendai Framework into COVID-19 recovery and rehabilitation.