European Union External Action

Disaster Risk Reduction: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

17/05/2019 - 00:00
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From 13 to 17 May, the European Union Delegation in Geneva actively took part in the 2019 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a multi-stakeholder forum established to review progress, share knowledge, and discuss the latest developments and trends in reducing disaster risk.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through an ethic of prevention. "More than half of the world's population experience changing climate and weather patterns. We all know that the intensity and scale of disasters will continue to grow globally," said European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management,  Christos Stylianides at the plenary session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. "Our world is facing a critical moment in history. Climate change is a colossal risk and challenge to us all". he said.

Commissioner Stylianides also took part to the Ministerial Roundtable that gathered high-level delegates and served as the opportunity to share good examples and progresses in risk-informed investments. Commissioner Stylianides called on greater investments and capital flows supporting risk-proof investments and economic policies: "To reach our long-term goals, we must also invest in risk-informed development. Across a wide range of sectors - education, health, social services, and economic recovery."


Monique Pariat, Director-General of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) moderated a working session on "Promoting locally-led DRR/DRM", with interventions of a wide range of governmental and civil society representatives coming from Jamaica, Philippines, Honduras, South Africa and Indonesia. The meeting addressed the issue of localisation, empowerment of local communities and the role of local authorities.

The European Union participated in different side events of the Global Platform, addressing specific issues and shaping the discussion on disaster risk reduction. 

School safety as a sustainable way to increase resilience was the topic of one side event moderated by Joachime Nason, Head of the Humanitarian Section of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva.

Aiming at helping children affected by humanitarian crises to have access to safe, quality, and accredited primary and secondary education, the EU announced an unprecedented €164 million for the Education in Emergencies projects.

The EU Delegation also co-sponsored a side event entitled "Faces of Disaster Displacement" that gave a voice to two young women who had experienced displacement due to natural hazard or violence. Their experiences should serve as important resources for displacement risk reduction and preparedness for response and recovery.

As part of the Global Platform, the EU Delegation took part to the World Reconstruction Conference, jointly organized by the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the European Commission, under the theme "Inclusion for Resilient Recovery". Supporting sustainable post-crisis recovery and resilience building are some of the core elements of the European frameworks and policies. As an opening statement, Ambassador Carl Hallergard, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva, recalled the need to leave no one behind, particularly in the context of natural and man-made disasters.

In the margins of the Global Platform Monique Pariat, Director-General of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and Ms. Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), signed an Administrative Arrangement between the two institutions, improving the effectiveness of emergency services.

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