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Legarda: Successor to HFA Should Address Growing Disaster Risks

March 11, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the new priority action framework for disaster risk reduction must address the growing risks present in countries especially in vulnerable communities.

 

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the statement as governments, parliaments, civil society, non-governmental organizations, private sector and all relevant stakeholders gather in Sendai, Japan from 14-18 March 2015 for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) wherein the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA) will be adopted.

 

“Our concern now is how to effectively reduce disaster risk as it becomes more complex given the increasing frequency, intensity and uncertainty of extreme hazard events. We need to rethink approaches for DRR and sustainable development. The successor to the HFA should be able to effectively guide nations and communities in managing risks and preventing the creation of new risks,” she said.

 

The Senator cited concerns raised by the UN in its 2015 Global Assessment Report for Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15), which said that “growing global inequality, increasing hazard exposure, rapid urbanization and the overconsumption of energy and natural capital now threaten to drive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels with systemic global impacts.”

 

Furthermore, economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of US$250 billion to US$300 billion annually.

 

Such is the current situation even after 168 countries adopted HFA in 2005. The HFA lays out a detailed set of priorities that would help reduce disaster losses substantially, and is a key guide for adaptation action.

 

 

“Significant progress was seen in making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, as well as in strengthening preparedness, early warning systems and response. However, many countries have yet to effectively manage the underlying risks,” Legarda said.

 

“In the Philippine context, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation laws are already in place. Although the level of action has yet to achieve the goals of these laws, we are seeing progress—from the change in mindset to the actual operationalization of resilience programs. Following Yolanda, the government has seen the importance of embracing the concept of building back better. I hope we all embrace the concept of building resilience. We should not only manage disasters. Even before natural hazards strike, we should have already managed the risks so that we prevent disasters,” she stressed.

 

Legarda said the Philippines’ presence at the Third UN WCDRR is an opportunity for the country to help define both local and global actions to reduce disaster losses in the next decade or so.

 

“The Philippines should convey the lessons of past disasters and share resilience efforts and best practices to make the post-2015 framework an effective DRR blueprint for the next decade,” she said.

 

At the Third UN WCDRR, Legarda will deliver the Philippine Statement on behalf of President Benigno Aquino III and will participate in the Conference as: (1) speaker for the moderated panel discussion, Improving Legislation for DRR at the IPU Parliamentary Meeting on Governance and Legislation for DRR; (2) co-chair with Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs Sanae Takaichi for the High Level Multi-stakeholder Partnership Dialogue on Mobilizing Women’s Leadership in DRR; and (3) panelist for the TV Panel Debate: Can We Expect The Private Sector To Protect Our Communities From The Impacts Of Disasters?