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UN supports call for an international science advisory mechanism on disaster risk reduction

A delegation led by ICSU as the organising partner of the UN Science and Technology Major Group took part in the first meeting of the preparatory committee for the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The two-day meeting in Geneva this week is intended to prepare for the March 2015 conference in Sendai, Japan, where governments are due to approve a new global framework to reduce disaster risk to replace the current Hyogo Framework.

The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 sought to build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.

The Science and Technology delegation brought together a broad coalition of organizations including the Inter Academy Partnership (IAP), the Global Young Academy, the UKCDS, Public Health England and the Science and Technical Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) as well as experts from Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Science and Technology Major Group focused its interventions on a statement agreed in March 2014 on establishing an international science advisory mechanism for disaster risk reduction to strengthen resilience for the post-2015 agenda.

Rüdiger Klein, Executive Director of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk programme (IRDR) (co-sponsored by ICSU, ISSC and UNISDR),  represented ICSU as organizing partner of the Major Group Science and Technology. When delivering a statement to the plenary on behalf of the Major Group he highlighted the importance of mutual reinforcement of strategies for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development, as well as the critical need for capacity building in SIDS and LDCs, without, neglecting the exposure of middle and high income countries.

Many of the country statements – from both developed and developing countries – emphasized the need for science and technology at the local and national levels. They requested more capacity building, better knowledge transfer and accessibility to data, more comprehensive multi-hazard risk assessment and monitoring that would contribute more strongly to deliver innovative solutions for disaster risk reduction, a government and civil society requirement.

In a joint statement, the UN said it “supports the proposed creation of an international science advisory mechanism to strengthen the evidence base for the implementation and monitoring of the new framework

The European Union, in its statement, said the new Hyogo framework “should also encourage a more systematic and reinforced science-policy interface, including foresight to address future risks and challenges.”

A first draft of the Second Hyogo Framework is expected to be available later this summer for comment, and will be taken forward to the 2nd preparatory committee meeting, Nov 17-18 in Geneva, in preparation for the 3rd World Conference in Sendai, Japan.

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