Americas endorse historic disaster action plan

MONTREAL, Canada, Mar 10, CMC –  The fifth Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas (RP17) has ended here with at least 50 countries, including those in the Caribbean, endorsing  a regional action plan (RAP)  for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015 – 2030 in the Americas.

The plan which has four major priority areas focuses on (a) Understanding Disaster Risks, (b) Strengthening Disaster Risks Governance to manage disaster risks, (c) Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction for resilience, and(d) Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘build back better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser, described the endorsement as historic saying that it marked an “evolutionary step towards a concerted regional approach to supporting countries in their efforts to build community resilience and reduce disaster risk and impacts.

“The adoption of this Regional Action Plan marks a key step towards making the Americas more resilient to the interlocking natural and human-induced hazards that countries and populations face,” he said, adding “it is the first action plan for the region, by the region, to reduce disaster risk.”

Glasser said that “it is vital for the future of our world that we all work together to reduce disaster mortality and economic impacts, and make the link between the Sendai Framework and the global agendas on Sustainable development and climate change.”

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, who hosted the RP17, said “our collective efforts to prevent and mitigate – as governments, stakeholders, and as proud citizens and community members – will cost far less than the cost of responding and rebuilding, and the loss of lives and livelihood.”

A major component of RP17 was a Ministerial and High-level Authorities Meeting of senior and government officials from across the Americas.

In a closing document referred to as the Montreal Declaration, the officials endorsed the action plan and restated their commitment to DRR in the region.

Among other things, the declaration said the ministers were committed to “highlight the importance of strengthening regional coordination in the face of disasters, while ensuring human dignity, equality, inclusion and the respect for national frameworks and international humanitarian assistance principles.”

The outcome of RP17 and RAP will form part of the recommendations to be put forward by the Americas at the upcoming Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be hosted in Cancun, Mexico in May, 2017.

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