[Disaster Series] Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

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This year, to mark the fifth anniversary of the Sendai Framework, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction released the first snapshot of the statistics available in the online report, “Monitoring the Implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020-2030: A Snapshot of Reporting for 2018”. Sendai Framework has proven to be significant in understanding disasters and ensuring international cooperation to reduce their risks to human lives.

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What is Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction 2015-2030?

  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is an international agreement that aims to prevent disaster risks across the globe.
  • It aims to strengthen social and economic resilience to ease the adverse effects of climate change, manmade disasters and natural hazards.
  • It was adopted by UN member states between 14 and 18th March 2015 at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, that was held in Sendai, Japan.
  • It is a successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015).
  • It applies to the risk of small-scale and large scale, frequent and infrequent, sudden and slow-onset disasters caused by both natural and manmade disasters.

What are the priorities for action set by Sendai Framework?

The Sendai Framework sets four priorities for action. They are as follows:

Understanding disaster risk:

  • Disaster risk management should be based on the understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment.
  • This knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.

Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk:

  • It is vital to have strong disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels so that the management of disaster risk reduction (DRR) is ensured in all sectors.
  • It (disaster risk governance) is also necessary for ensuring the consistency of national and local frameworks of laws, regulations and public policies that, by defining goals and responsibilities, will guide and incentivize the public and private sectors to take task action and address disaster risk.

Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience:

  • It is vital to ensure public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures.
  • These investments should be used to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets as well as the environment.
  • This will also promote innovation, growth and employment
  • It is also cost-effective and instrumental to save lives, prevent and reduce losses and ensure effective recovery and rehabilitation.

Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction:

  • Disaster preparedness must be strengthened for more efficient response and also to ensure the existence of capacities that enable effective recovery at all levels.
  • The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction strategy for disaster must be prepared ahead so that there is an opportunity to “build back better” through the integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures.
  • This strategy must be inclusive, with a higher emphasis on vulnerable communities and their development.

What are the targets outlined under the Sendai Framework that needs to be achieved between 2015 and 2030?

The targets outlined under the Sendai Framework are as follows:

  • Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
  • Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
  • Reduce the direct disaster-related economic losses in relation to GDP by 2030
  • Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and basic utilities, including healthcare and education facilities, by improving their resilience by 2030
  • Increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020
  • Enhance international cooperation to provide adequate and sustainable support for developing nations to enable them to implement disaster prevention framework by 2020
  • Substantially increase people’s opportunities to access multi-hazard early warning system and disaster risk information and assessments by 2030

What is Sendai Framework Monitor?

  • The Sendai Framework Monitor, which was launched on 1st March 2018, is an online tool that aims to collect data on achieving the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • It was launched by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
  • It is based on a set of 38 indicators that will track the progress in implementation of the Sendai Framework’s seven targets and related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 1 (no poverty), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 13 (climate action).
  • It will also help countries develop Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies, make policy decisions and allocate resources to prevent new disaster risks.
  • All countries must use the Framework Monitor to report against the 38 indicators.

What are the major changes made in Sendai Framework?

Some of the major departures in the Sendai Framework are as follows:

  • For the first time, goals are defined in terms of outcome-based targets instead of focusing on sets of activities and actions.
  • It places governments at the centre of disaster risk reduction by giving high emphasis to the need for strengthening of disaster risk reduction.
  • There is a significant shift from the earlier emphasis on disaster management to addressing disaster risk management itself by focusing on the underlying drivers of risks.
  • It places almost equal importance to all kinds of disasters and not only those arising from natural hazards.
  • Along with social vulnerability, it also gives high focus to environmental aspects through strong recognition that the implementation of integrated environmental and natural resource management
  • Disaster risk reduction, more than before, is seen as a policy concern that cuts across many sectors, including health and education.

What was found in the recently released statistics from Sendai Framework Monitor?

  • Since the launch of Sendai Framework Monitor two years ago, the UN member states have increased their efforts to systematically record their losses in line with Sendai Framework’s seven targets.
  • This year, the UNDRR had released the first snapshot of the statistics now available in the online report.
  • It revealed that there is a much greater loss of life from disaster than previous reports as the impact of smaller recurring events that usually not recorded.
  • In 2018, 82 countries with a total population of 4 billion, including 33 least developed and landlocked developing countries, reported 22,000 deaths and 1,900 missing due to disasters. This is the double of previously published figures.
  • During the same year, 72 countries with a combined population of 3.7 billion reported that 8 million people (Asia and the Pacific accounting for 69%) had their homes damaged or destroyed and close to 25 million (Asia and the Pacific accounting for 74%) had their livelihood damaged or destroyed.
  • A sample of 63 countries reporting on their direct economic losses for 2018 recorded losses of $13 billion in agriculture out of the total $17.5 billion.
  • This number includes 28 least developed or landlocked developing countries and small island developing states. These countries reported the heaviest losses in their agricultural sector, followed by damage to critical infrastructure.
  • While these are lesser than that of Europe in terms of absolute economic value, they are significant when seen as a percentage of GDP of these countries and have undoubtedly undermined efforts to achieve the SDGs, including the eradication of poverty.
  • The Sendai Framework Monitor provides an opportunity for these countries to report systematically on their economic losses, which mainly stem from extreme weather events, particularly due to floods, storms and drought.
  • This helps build the case for climate justice and greater transparency and accountability of those responsible for the continued rise in greenhouse emission.
  • These are also countries that are most vulnerable to the systematic nature of risk revealed by the spread of COVID-19, which is disrupting almost all aspects of lives.
  • Sendai Conference has made a lasting impact as 81 countries are now reporting progress on putting in place national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction aligned with Sendai Framework to meet the 2020 deadline.

What were the initiatives taken by the Indian government post-Sendai Declaration?

  • In November 2016, India had hosted the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction (AMCDRR) and had adopted “New Delhi Declaration” and “Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework”.
  • The New Delhi Declaration is a political statement spelling out the commitments of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk and strengthening the resilience of communities and nations in Asia. It recognises the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks and commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR.
  • The ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ focuses on how to reduce disaster risk at local and national levels.
  • At the AMCDRR, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put forth ten-point agenda for the implementation of disaster risk reduction, which is as follows:
  1. Ensure all development projects (schools, airports, roads, canals, hospitals, bridges etc.) are built to appropriate disaster-resilient standards.
  2. Work towards risk coverage for all – starting from poor households to small and medium enterprises to MNCs to nation-states.
  3. Encourage greater involvement and leadership of women in disaster risk management.
  4. Invest in risk mapping globally for all hazards
  5. Leverage technology to enhance the efficiency of disaster risk management efforts.
  6. Develop a network of universities to work on disaster issues
  7. Utilize the opportunities provided by social media and mobile technologies
  8. Build on local capacities and initiatives
  9. Ensure that the opportunity to learn from a disaster is not wasted. Establish a facility for technical support to the post-disaster reconstruction of houses
  10. Bring about greater cohesion in the international response to disasters
  • The Central Government had issued a priority action to all state governments based on goals, targets and priorities of Sendai Framework
  • The government is also involved in sharing India’s expertise and helping other countries in disaster response.
  • It is playing a critical role in promoting regional cooperation by hosting the SAARC Disaster Management Centre, which is involved in reducing disaster risk in the region and promoting knowledge sharing among SAARC nations.
  • On February this year, India conducted 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise in Odisha with a high emphasis on how to protect heritage sites during the times of disasters. This exercise allows member states to evaluate their capabilities and share their best emergency response practices.
  • Recently, it had also proposed COVID-19 emergency fund and had committed $10 million for the same. At the same time, it offered the Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal (IDSP) software, which is currently being used to identify and monitor those with exposure to COVID-19.
  • The government had also strengthened the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) through improvement in training and technology. It had also approved the creation of the National Disaster Response Reserve (NDRR). NDRR will help NDRF will help maintain a record of inventory of emergency goods and services.
  • Additionally, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) also provides early warning to not only India but also 28 countries in the Indian Ocean Rim.
  • India has released the National Disaster Management Plan based on the Sendai Framework’s four priorities. It has a regional approach that integrated developmental planning with disaster management.

Conclusion:

The end of this decade will reveal how successful or not the Sendai Framework has been in reducing disaster losses, especially losses of life and the number of people affected by disasters. From the recently released report, it is evident that the framework has played a crucial role in the world’s improved understanding of the threat posed by the disasters in human lives. With this knowledge, it is critical to ensure cooperation in reducing the disaster impact, especially in vulnerable nations in Asia and the Pacific.

Practice question for mains:

Critically examine the significance of Sendai Framework. How can the countries use it to reduce their losses due to disasters? (250 words)

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