Sendai: World leaders gather for UN conference on managing disaster risk

14 March 2015 | News and Media

Sendai, Japan, 13 March 2015 – World leaders are gathering for a United Nations conference in Sendai, Japan, to agree on a new framework for managing disaster risk which will reduce mortality and economic losses.

In Bangladesh, an innovative “disaster resilient village” was built in Shymnagar for a coastal village wiped out after Cyclone Aila. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh/Nasif Ahmed

In Bangladesh, an innovative “disaster resilient village” was built in Shymnagar for a coastal village wiped out after Cyclone Aila. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh/Nasif Ahmed

Since the last such conference in Kobe, Japan, in January 2005, at least 700,000 people have died, 1.7 billion people have been affected and there have been $1.4 trillion in economic losses from major reported disaster events. The very first conference took place in Yokohama in 1994.

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which opens on Saturday, aims to update the landmark agreement reached a decade ago, known as the Hyogo Framework for Action, which detailed the work required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses.

“After three years of consultation on a post-2015 framework which updates the current Hyogo Framework for Action, there is general agreement that we must move from managing disasters to managing disaster risk,” Margareta Wahlström, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said on the eve of the gathering.

“If the world is successful in tackling the underlying drivers of risk such as poverty, climate change, the decline of protective eco-systems, uncontrolled urbanization and land use the result will be a much more resilient planet,” she stated.

Ms. Wahlström added that the new framework to be adopted at the conclusion of the conference next Wednesday will help to reducing existing levels of risk and avoid the creation of new risk.