Urgency, ambition, political commitment and follow-up: a high-level dialogue on strengthening disaster and climate risk governance – Global
The 7th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) is taking place at a critical time in our planet’s history.
A lived experience of climate change
For children born today, their lived experience will be that of climate change. They are likely to experience three to four times more extreme weather events than their grandparents, said Mark Howden, director of the Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions at the Australian National University, during a GPDRR High-Level Dialogue on “Strengthening Disaster and Climate Risk Governance at National and Local Levels to Accelerate Progress on the SDGs on May 25, 2022.
Selwin Hart, special adviser to the UN secretary-general for climate action and under-secretary-general for the climate action team, noted that these impacts would be unevenly distributed.
“If you live in Central America or South America; in Central, East or West Africa; in South Asia; or in a small island developing state, you are 15 times more likely to die in a climate impact.
Despite this, he pointed out, only 20-25% of all climate-related investments are dedicated to adaptation and resilience.
“We must pursue reducing emissions and pursue protecting people and safeguarding livelihoods with the same degree of urgency and ambition,” he said.
“We have a moral imperative to protect those who have done the least to get us into this situation or to cause the climate crisis.”
Systemic solutions to a systemic problem
“This is a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions,” Howden said. “The impacts of climate change are already being felt on every continent, every island, every ocean and in every sector.”
the IPCC reportauthored by Howden, notes an increase in compound, simultaneous, cascading and aggregate events.
A compound event is one where “several related climatic events occur at the same time, which collectively increase the risk” – for example heat waves, droughts and simultaneous fires, which together have an impact on the risk – such as the explained Howden.
Cascading risks are events where one climatic disturbance triggers a chain of other climatic disturbances.
“In the really huge fires we had in Australia two years ago,” Howden explained, “the fires destroyed the electrical system. So it destroyed the banking system, so people couldn’t get their money back. money, and it also took out the gasoline delivery system… and it took out the cell phone communication system… so even if people had gasoline in their cars, they didn’t ‘don’t know where to drive because they didn’t know where the fires were. It’s a cascading risk.
An example of aggregate risk, which involves separate and independent risks, would be a climate-related hazard, such as a fire or cyclone, and COVID-19.
“So when people need to seek shelter, they cram into a limited space, which means they’re at the added risk of COVID.”
The nature of the risks determines the solution, Howden said. “For example, if you have a cascading risk, all you have to do is prevent a link from that cascade, and you can prevent it from happening.”
Climate risk management options are diminishing with increasing climate change – both reducing emissions to slow climate change while adapting and reducing disaster risk are essential.
A systemic solution, Howden noted, relies on political commitment and monitoring.
The political will for a coordinated approach
Other Dialogue participants echoed this sentiment. Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said the Pacific Resilience Partnership has improved coordination and collaboration in disaster risk management in the region. Examples include the Disaster Risk Financing Technical Working Group, which provides capacity support for disaster financial protection; and tools such as the Pacific Resilience Standards.
“Going forward, if we want to do better in risk governance, we need to consider a number of important things.” he said.
“First, a shared vision of resilience that belongs to all and is backed by political will at the highest level. Second, we must continually review our systems to ensure continuity and sustainability. Finally, access to robust and contextualized data is also crucial.
Natalia Gómez Solano, President of the Costa Rican Youth and Climate Change Network, called for greater inclusion of young people in disaster risk and climate governance.
“For young people, we call on governments to unify mechanisms, systems and institutions, and accelerate the SDGs.”
“We know that climate change affects the future of young people and children, who are a really vulnerable group,” she said.
“Our group is asking for solutions because the dangers are changing faster than policies and actions. Children and young people are agents of change and mobilizers.
“You have to make friends before you need them”
Jochen Steinhilber, director general for displacement, crisis prevention and civil society at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that integration is a key element for progress in the fight against disasters and climate risks.
“We must make the best use of existing institutions to avoid further fragmentation at global, national and local levels,” he said.
Germany is committed to using its G7 Presidency to improve resilience, especially for the most vulnerable.
“Building on the InsuResilience Global Partnership and efforts to enable faster and better disaster response and close the financial protection gap in vulnerable countries, we are mobilizing support under our G7 Presidency to work towards a global shield against climate risk”.
Germany has also pledged to strengthen anticipatory action, for “more proactive and forward-looking humanitarian aid”.
“There is a growing awareness that pre-arranged funding can enable faster and more efficient assistance,” he said.
There is a saying in German, noted Steinhilber: “You must make friends before you need them.”
“It’s the same with finance: when disaster strikes, pre-arranged solutions ease the burden, reduce costs and reduce tax impacts.”