MONTRÉAL, March 9, 2017 /CNW/ - The Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas (RP17) brought together delegates from across the Americas to discuss efforts to reduce disaster risks posed by natural and human-induced hazards and to approve a Regional Action Plan (RAP) to meet the United Nations (UN) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030 commitments.
RP17 came after a year that has thrown the spotlight squarely on risk in the Americas, in the wake of wildfires in Canada, the United States, and in Chile, as well as high-profile disasters like Hurricane Matthew, which brought destruction in the Caribbean and the United States having a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency and Preparedness and Mr. Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted a Ministerial and High-Level Authorities Meeting. Senior officials from across the Americas approved the RAP and the Montreal Declaration, which reinforces the high level commitment of Ministers and senior officials to DRR. A Chair's Summary of the Regional Platform – a concise overview of the proceedings of the event, including its outcomes, recommendations and next steps – will be released shortly.
The RAP marks an evolutionary step towards a concerted regional approach to supporting countries in their efforts to build community resilience and reduce disaster risk and impacts. It serves as foundation to further the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR's four key priorities through the identification of regional initiatives that contribute to one or more of the Sendai Actions. Members States, civil society organizations, volunteers and other relevant actors, may wish to advance these initiatives collectively.
RP17 also offered the opportunity for stakeholders, including the Government of Canada and the Office of United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), to demonstrate progress towards meeting Sendai objectives. The Sendai Framework aims to tackle risk head-on and contribute to substantially reducing the number of lives lost, numbers of people affected, and economic losses. It also seeks to curb damage to critical infrastructure and disruption to basic services such as health and educational facilities.
Minister Goodale took the opportunity to release the Federal Floodplain Mapping Framework, a joint project led by Public Safety Canada and Natural Resources Canada, which will contribute to the Sendai Framework Priority One "Understanding the Risks". The first in a series of Floodplain Mapping Guidelines, the Floodplain Mapping Framework will help to reduce flood risk and ultimately associated costs domestically.
In keeping with the Sendai Framework's emphasis on the importance for governments to engage with Indigenous peoples on DRR policies, practices, and standards, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) co-sponsored and co-hosted with the Government of Mexico a parallel session at RP17 on Indigenous Communities and DRR. At this session, best practices related to "Building Resiliency through Reconciliation" were discussed. At a session focusing on public-private engagement, Mr. Glasser marked the launch of the Canada Chapter of ARISE, the UNISDR-endorsed Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies.
RP17 and the RAP will contribute to the recommendations to be put forward by the Americas region at the upcoming Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be hosted in Cancun, Mexico in May 2017.
"I'm proud to stand with my colleagues from across the Americas and take this important step forward to meet the commitments of the Sendai Framework together. Disaster risk reduction efforts have proven time and again that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Our collective efforts to prevent and mitigate – as governments, stakeholders, and as proud citizens and community members – will cost far less than the cost of responding and rebuilding, and the loss of lives and livelihood."
The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"The adoption of this Regional Action Plan marks a key step towards making the Americas more resilient to the interlocking natural and human-induced hazards that countries and populations here face. Like its equivalents endorsed over recent months by Africa, Asia and Europe, it will help accelerate efforts to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It is vital for the future of our world that we all work together to reduce disaster mortality and economic impacts, and make the link between the Sendai Framework and the global agendas on sustainable development and climate change. Regional action is a critical way to drive real change, and we all look forward to sharing the valuable lessons that it offers when we meet in May at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Mexico."
Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
- This week, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the UNISDR, hosted delegates from 50 countries and territories from the Americas in Montréal, Québec for RP17.
- The UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was endorsed by Canada and 186 other countries in March, 2015. This landmark Framework aims to substantially reduce losses in lives, livelihoods and health due to disasters.
- RP17 demonstrated great progress in its engagement. All plenary sessions were available via webcast, and Public Forums were held from various sites across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, giving the public the opportunity to participate in discussions. Additionally, in the lead up to RP17, more than 50 videos were submitted by youth across the Americas as part of UNISDR's Youth Video Challenge.
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SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657; The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Humberto Jaime, Communications Manager, UNISDR - The Americas, email: Jaime@un.org