The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) was adopted in 2005 by 168 Governments and aims to build resilience of nations and communities to disasters. The HFA highlights five priorities for action
-Ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and a local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation;
-Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning;
-Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels;
-Reduce the underlying risk factors; and
-Strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.
The HFA also calls attention to the need for collective effort at all levels, to reduce the number and effects of natural disasters.
Disasters not only have immediate consequences but also far reaching effects of setting back achievement of development goals to which all nations are committed. On the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction Disaster Day on 8 October 2008, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that “Now more than ever, when we are trying to accelerate national and international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), disaster risk reduction needs to be acknowledged and incorporated as a key plank of that work. The threats posed by climate change – including increasing droughts, floods and storms – increases the urgency further still, particularly in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities.” Disaster risk reduction (DRR) offers a unique long-term viable solution to reduce the impact of disasters and build the resilience of communities and nations to disasters and towards achieving the MDGs and poverty reduction. Governments of Asia take advantage of Asian Ministerial Conferences as the fora to reaffirm their commitment to the HFA. The Ministerial Conferences also serve as a platform for exchanging information on effective implementation of disaster risk reduction at national and local levels in the pursuit for sustainable development.
The First Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was organised by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in September 2005. The Ministerial Conference adopted the Beijing Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, 2005 to promote the newly adopted HFA and seek the commitment of Asian Governments to implement disaster risk reduction, whilst strengthening existing key regional cooperation mechanisms.
The Second Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in India in November, 2007. The Second Ministerial Conference further reaffirmed Governments’ commitment to the HFA through the Delhi Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, 2007. The Second Ministerial Conference also instituted an expansion of the forum as the Regional Platform with participation of National Governments, regional and sub-regional organisations, United Nations agencies, financial institutions and other stakeholders including civil societies, scientific and technical organisations, the private sector and the media.
The Third Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction built on the First and Second Conferences, with the overarching theme of “Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction From National to Local”, with emphasis on public-private-partnership for disaster risk reduction and community based disaster risk reduction activities. The Ministerial Conference was held on 2 – 4 December 2008 at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The climax of the Ministerial Conference was the adoption of the “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia 2008” by the Ministers and Heads of Delegations involved (Appendix 4). The Declaration lays testimony to public-private-partnership and community based participation in disaster risk reduction and charts the way forward for Asia.
The Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction provided a platform to review actions taken by countries in conjunction with stakeholders for the implementation of the HFA as a follow-up to the Beijing Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Delhi Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia in 2007. It also facilitated sharing of good practices and lessons learned on disaster risk reduction and preparation for key global meetings. The specific objectives of the Ministerial Conference were:
- To review the action taken by the national governments and other stakeholders for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework of Action as a follow up to the Beijing Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Delhi Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia in 2007;
- To ensure an effective follow-up to the decisions taken by Ministers, supported by the UNISDR Asia Partnership, as the operative arm of the Asia Regional Platform for DRR, in particular in mapping out and reporting on the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Pacific;
- To take stock of initiatives taken in various sub-regions of Asia for promoting cooperation and building partnerships for disaster risk reduction among nations, both within and outside the governments, including private and public partnership;
- To share and exchange good practices and lessons learned on disaster risk reduction in various fields including application of science and technology, community based disaster preparedness, public-private partnership and enhance their replication within the region;
- To discuss the preparations towards key global processes for Disaster Risk Reduction such as the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as contribution to regional focus on disaster risk reduction;
- To develop a vision and roadmap to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones, and engage new stakeholders’ investment in disaster risk reduction in Asia, such as the private sector, re-insurance companies etc; and
- To facilitate a better recognition of community-based activities and local actions on disaster risk reduction by Governments and promote the mobilization of adequate policy and financial support at the national level to facilitate the effective implementation and replication within vulnerable communities.
PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND THEMES
The theme of the Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was “Multi-Stakeholder
Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction from National to Local”. Participants were provided with ample
opportunities to deliberate the special focus on public-private-partnership and community-based disaster risk reduction activities.
The Ministerial Conference consisted of the Inter-Governmental Segment, Special Segment and Technical Segment. Ministers, Senior Officials and other representatives of Government participated in the Inter-Governmental and Special Segments. The Technical Segment was open to participation by scientists, professionals, representatives from government, non-governmental and international organisations as well as other stakeholders.
In addition to the three Segments, an Open Public Forum and Exhibition Booths were made available for regional and national partners to show case activities and the contributions of various entities, both public and private, to risk disaster reduction. Media Training and Related Press Events were also conducted during the Ministerial Conference by ABU and UNISDR. These included a series of trainings and briefings, highlighting to participants the role of media in response to disaster risk reduction issues in the Asia-Pacific, and briefing print and broadcast journalists on key issues surrounding the Ministerial Conference and disaster risk reduction in the region.
The Inter-Governmental Segment comprised the Inaugural and Closing Ceremonies and the segment on Ministerial Statements. The Inaugural and Closing Ceremonies were held in plenary whilst the segment on Ministerial Statements was spread over two days.
The Inaugural Ceremony was held on 2 December 2008. The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak officially opened the Ministerial Conference. Also in attendance were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Y.B. Dato’Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Director of United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Mr. Sálvano Briceño and Secretary of the National Security Council, Dato’ Muhammad Hatta Ab. Aziz. Mr. Briceño delivered the Keynote Address of the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination, H.E. Sir John Holmes.
The Closing Ceremony was held on 4 December 2008. The highlight of the Ceremony was the adoption of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, 2008. During the Ceremony, the Government of the Republic of Korea, represented by the Deputy Administrator to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Park Yeon Soo, accepted the duty of hosting the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction at Incheon in 2010. The Ministerial Conference was officially closed by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Y.B. Dato’ S.K. Devamany. The UNISDR was represented by Ms. Helena Molin Valdes, Deputy Director of UNISDR.
The segment on Ministerial Statements was held on 2 and 3 December 2008. The segment saw the participation of 43 Ministers, Senior Officials and representatives of international and regional organisations. They delivered statements that highlighted progress made on disaster risk reduction in furthering the goals of HFA, as a follow up to the Beijing Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, 2005 and the Delhi Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia, 2007.
The Special Segment was held on 2 December 2008. The segment comprised a Panel Discussion with Conference Partners and two Special Sessions. The Panel Discussion was held in plenary subsequent to the Inaugural Ceremony whilst the Special Sessions were held parallel to the Ministerial Statements. The Panel Discussion with Conference Partners on “Disaster Trends in Asia and the Pacific” was chaired by the Director of UNISDR, Mr. Sálvano Briceño. The Conference Partners at the session were ASEAN, SAARC, APEC and representatives from the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and Republic of Palau. Subsequent to the Panel Discussion, the Director of UNISDR launched the document on Good Practices on Public Private Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction to support the Kuala Lumpur Initiative on Public-Private Partnerships. The Director of UNISDR also announced the designation of Senator Loren Legarda of the Philippines as the Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Reduction. Senator Legarda is expected to promote the mission and ideals of UNISDR in advocating and advancing disaster risk reduction.
The Special Sessions focused on the advancement in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action in the Asia and the Pacific region and participatory engagement processes. Special Session 1 was on “Accelerating Progress in Implementing the HFA in Asia and the Pacific”. In this Session, panelists comprising ASEAN, SAARC, IFRC and City Net reported on and reviewed follow-up actions taken to implement HFA in the region. Special Session 2 was on “Establishing and Improving Multi-Stakeholder Mechanisms for Disaster Risk Reduction – Progress of National Mechanisms for Multi-stakeholder and Multi-Sectoral Engagement”. The session reviewed the progress of national mechanisms for multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral engagement, with special focus on community-based disaster risk reduction activities. Lessons learnt from established and emerging National Platforms in the region were shared. Key issues to be addressed by Governments in order to support and develop national multi-stakeholder mechanisms for disaster risk reduction were also highlighted.
The Technical Segment comprised six Technical Sessions, six High-Level Roundtables, ten Side Events and eight Pre-Conference events. All the events served as platforms for taking stock of initiatives taken in various sub-regions of Asia for promoting cooperation and building partnerships for disaster risk reduction among nations, both within and outside the governments; and sharing of good practices and lessons learned on disaster risk reduction in various fields.
Technical Sessions and High-Level Round Tables revolved around the following six themes:
-Public-Private Partnership in Disaster Risk Financing;
-High Technology and Scientific Applications to Disaster Risk Reduction including Climate
-Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction;
-Mobilizing Resources for Disaster Risk Reduction;
-Media Involvement in Disaster Risk Reduction; and
-Public Awareness and Education for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Each Technical Session comprised disaster risk reduction experts and practitioners, who articulated challenges and made key recommendations for actions to be considered by Ministers from selected Asia Pacific countries at discussions during the High-Level Roundtables on the same theme. Key policy recommendations from the High-Level Roundtables are reflected in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia 2008.
Side Events focused on specific topics related to the six themes as well as additional subjects on disaster risk reduction. The emphasis was on sharing of experiences of implementing partners, discussions with experts and practitioners and forging partnerships. Pre-Conference Events were held on 1 December 2008. They included briefings and meetings on subjects related to disaster risk reduction.
ORGANISERS AND CONFERENCE PARTNERS
The Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was organised by the Government of Malaysia through the National Security Council, Prime Minister’s Department, with support of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and other Conference Partners. Conference Partners constituted regional and international bodies as well as local agencies and organisations from the host country.
The Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction saw the participation of 43 countries
and institutions. Participants included Ministers, Senior Government Officials, scientists, academicians and practitioners from local and international non-governmental organisations, civil society members and representatives from the United Nations, international and regional organizations.
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