This year, the UNECE region has seen devastating impacts of climate change and multiple natural disasters, such as the floods in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Disasters caused by natural hazards, on the rise due to climate change, can also trigger technological accidents.
On today’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNECE reaffirms its commitment to supporting its member States to manage disaster risk in a transboundary context, aiming to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of their populations. Disasters know no borders, meaning that cooperation between countries is essential!
“Efforts to reduce disaster risk must be conscious of the increasing impacts of climate change and need to involve all levels of governance. UNECE is committed to supporting member States in making best use of our legal agreements and policy commitments to reduce the risk of natural and technological hazards, and mitigate their transboundary impacts. I encourage member States to foster policy cooperation among related disciplines, nationally, regionally, locally, and across borders”, said Deputy Executive Secretary Dmitry Mariyasin.
Highlights of UNECE’s work will be featured at the upcoming European Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR), taking place in Matosinhos, Portugal and online, 24-26 November 2021.
The UNECE Water Convention supports countries in flood and drought risk management, taking related DRR measures and adapting to climate change, for example through the UNDRR Words into Action Guide for addressing water-related disasters and transboundary cooperation, developed under the Convention’s leadership. At the recent Meeting of the Parties, the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, highlighted the vital importance of treaties such as the Water Convention, and institutions to protect transboundary watercourses and international lakes and to tackle other risk drivers including the pandemic threat, destruction of protective ecosystems and climate change. Showing UNECE’s dedicated involvement in addressing these issues, UNECE actively contributed to the preparation of the EFDRR Working Session on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (25 November, 15.00 – 16.15 CET), which will showcase a multi-hazard, transboundary map of tailings dams in the Danube Delta, which considers prevalent flood risks.
In addition, UNECE helps countries manage technological disaster risk. Together with partners, UNECE developed the UNDRR Words into Action Guidelines on man-made/technological hazards, and supports countries in its implementation through the work under the Industrial Accidents Convention. Building on the MoU with the European Investment Bank, UNECE, OECD and EIB have joined forces to organize at EFDRR a focused thematic discussion on chemical and industrial accidents and their prominent place in the Sendai Framework (24 November 2021, 10:00 – 12:00 CET), entitled “Preventing another Sandoz, Baia Mare or Beirut accident: Perspectives on risk management in the context of the Sendai Framework.”
UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova will address a panel during the Forum’s Ministerial Roundtable on 25 November. The Deputy Executive Secretary will deliver a keynote address at the plenary session on the forthcoming EFDRR roadmap: accelerating implementation of the Sendai Framework (26 November, 9.00-10.30 CET).
The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction is a recurrent platform that enables policy-makers and experts to exchange the latest information on disaster risk management in larger Europe, including the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. The 2021 edition will focus on the need to address the systemic, cascading and compound nature of risks, while putting the spotlight on the COVID-19 pandemic and climate emergency. The event aims to facilitate sharing experiences and lessons learned, enabling more resilience in the future. At EFDRR 2021, the EFDRR 2021 – 2030 Roadmap will be presented for adoption, helping to step up the implementation of the Sendai Framework. UNECE has contributed to the preparation of roadmap, as well as the Regional Assessment Report for Europe and Central Asia, drafting a chapter on technological disaster risk management in close cooperation with EIB and the EU Joint Research Centre.
The outcome of EFDRR will feed into the Global Platform on DRR (Bali, Indonesia, 23 – 28 May 2022) taking place every three years.