By Rosalind Cook and Andrew McElroy
Bonn, 29 November 2017 – The motto of the Republic of Marshall Islands - ‘Accomplishment through Joint Effort’ - has proved an inspiration for the country’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) communities to integrate their efforts to boost community resilience.
The north Pacific nation has reshaped its national governance for risk-informed development to ensure less duplication and achieve more sustainable impact at the local level.
Ms Jennifer DeBrum of the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ Joint National Action Plan Unit explained how stronger integration "makes sense to us conceptually" in a country with scarce resources and several challenges for the population of 54,000 people.
"We have been working to strengthen coordination and coherence of action on risk informed development and economic policy since 2010," Ms DeBrum said. "The key to success was working with all different groups – women, youth, mayors - to get them involved and ultimately to own the joint strategy.
"Going from theory to action was not easy for sure; it was a very complex process. In fact, it takes a lot of determination and tenacity to get it done."
Ms DeBrum was sharing the Marshall Islands’ experience at the Expert Meeting on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into National Adaptation Planning, in Bonn, Germany, which convened 60 development policy specialists, DRR and CCA experts from around the world.
The meeting hailed the several examples of more integrated disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation action as a "win-win and no regrets" pathway towards community resilience.
Ms. Kathia Aguilar Martin, Technical Expert Director of Climate Change at Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy, told the forum how an initial focus on agriculture provided an "entry point" for more joint efforts that have now spread to other sectors.
The Head of UNISDR’s Bonn Office, Mr. David Stevens said: “The disaster risk and climate change communities have moved much closer in the past few years. This meeting and its outcome adds momentum to this consolidation of thinking and action on resilience building.”
Coherence is at the heart of on-going work at the international level of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through enhancing the linkages between implementation of the Sendai Framework, Paris Agreement and SDG’s. Paul Desanker, Manager in the Adaptation Programme, UNFCCC said “the National Adaptation Plans have come a long way and the explicit consideration of DRR strategies will facilitate coherence in achieving Sendai and UNFCCC adaptation goals and objectives.”
The outcomes of the Expert Meeting, organized by UNISDR, will now feed into a revision of technical guidelines – first drafted in 2012 –that will to help countries to ensure that DRR is integrated into National Adaptation Plans.
The meeting was organized by UNISDR with the support of the German Government.