World

International Recovery Forum highlights investing in resilience before disaster strikes

On 19 January, the International Recovery Forum 2022 concluded with a strong call to prioritize preparedness for recovery and invest in resilience before a disaster strikes.

The Forum, which convened 400 participants and speakers from 65 countries, was held under the under the theme “Redesigning Systems for Resilience through Recovery”.

“In the current context of a global pandemic, climate change, and setbacks in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we must build on what we have learned about progress, challenges, enablers, and barriers to “building back better”, said Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction in her opening message.

The event gathered experts to distil critical lessons from recent disaster recovery experiences, and set out an agenda for improving disaster recovery outcomes for a resilient and sustainable future.

“It is important to build back better by putting it in policy and regulations, and link it to sustainable development,” said Mr. Kimio Takeya, Distinguished Technical Advisor on DRR, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in his keynote presentation.

A key recommendation was on greater investment in recovery efforts with diversified financing arrangements. Efforts to build back better are too often undermined by a dearth of financing, leaving impacted communities with the same or worse disaster risks, and diminished development prospects. A good example of a flood mitigation project in the Philippines was presented, which demonstrated that pre-investments in risk reduction offer multiple benefits including reduced inundation, people affected and damage costs.

“More attention must be given to strengthening systems pre disaster. Establishing and integrating the desired recovery outcomes early in a disaster event can go a long way to realizing those desired outcomes sooner”, said Ms. Cynthia Spishak, Associate Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Analysis (OPPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), USA.

Experts also called for stronger alignment between recovery priorities, long-term resilience and climate objectives, and development plans.

“Recovery investments must be made part of national multi-year budgeting and long-term sustainable development planning by governments”, added Ms. Paola Albrito, Chief of Branch, Intergovernmental processes, Interagency co-operation and Partnerships, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

The annual Forum was organised by the International Recovery Platform (IRP), a multi-stakeholder network and international mechanism for sharing experiences and learning on building back better among countries and all relevant stakeholders.

The recommendations from the IRP Forum 2022 contribute to the midterm review of the Sendai Framework and align with the theme of the 7th Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2022) and the 5th World Reconstruction Conference (WRC5) to be held under the banner of the IRP in May this year.