A top-level United Nations conference has, for the first time, laid the foundations for practical and proactive national drought policies to increase resilience to the world’s most destructive natural hazard, which is being aggravated by climate change.
The High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy marked the first globally-coordinated attempt to move towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction and break away from piecemeal and costly crisis-response, which often comes too late to avert death, displacement and destruction.
In his village near Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Nazeer Butt, 40, points to his ruined house on a steep mountainside.
“Three outer walls caved in and the roof was damaged when a torrent raced down the hill and hit it last month,” Butt told IRIN.
I recently attended the “Coastal Cities At Risk 2013” conference organized by the Manila Observatory and the Coastal Cities at Risk Initiative supported by the Canadian Government. As many remarked, the venue was quite apt because Manila has the distinction of being one of seven cities globally judged to be at extreme risk from the combined impacts of climate change and climate-related disasters – and only Dhaka in Bangladesh is estimated to be at higher overall risk.
Migration is a phenomenon that grows every year and affects in some way virtually every country. Many migrants move voluntarily – looking perhaps for economic opportunities, or for different lifestyles. But for others, migration is not a choice. More and more people are forced to flee their homes and communities because of many factors including conflicts, persecution, disasters and poverty. It is their plight that is the focus of the 2012 World Disasters Report.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched two new contingent credit facilities for Latin America and the Caribbean today, one to help countries deal beforehand with shocks caused by external financial crises and another to help nations cope with the aftermath of natural disasters.
A new Development Sustainability Contingent Credit Line (DSL) will make $6 billion available to the IDB’s 26 borrowing member countries over the 2012-2014 period, with a maximum of $2 billion per year and with unused resources from one year carrying over to the next one. The new line is designed to help countries protect its poorest citizens from sharp fluctuations in commodity prices, global liquidity crises and other exogenous factors.
While almost 85 percent of people from developing countries are struggling to cope with natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruption, typhoons, floods and droughts, funding for risk reduction, including preparedness, is insufficient with only $3.7 billion (1 percent) out of $363-billion total aid spent on disaster reduction in the poorest countries, according to United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster-Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlstrom.
Poor people living in slums are at particularly high risk from the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. They live on the most vulnerable lands within cities, typically areas that are deemed undesirable by others and are thus affordable. Residents are exposed to the impacts of landslides, sea-level rise, flooding, and other hazards. Exposure to risk is exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions, lack of adequate infrastructure and services, unsafe housing, inadequate nutrition, and poor health. These conditions can turn a natural hazard or change in climate into a disaster, and result in the loss of basic services, damage or destruction to homes, loss of livelihoods, malnutrition, disease, disability, and loss of life.
Rapid urbanization and climate change are reshaping and exacerbating disaster risk. Together, they have added urgency to the task of building resilience in communities and countries around the world. High-profile representatives of developing and donor countries join senior officials from development and humanitarian organizations discuss how to prepare for a changing world.
Watch the webcast: http://gfdrr.org/gfdrr/node/1182
In honor of Earth Day, we run an interview with Yves-André Wainright, who discusses ways that poor governance and the role of foreign donors have contributed to the country’s environmental catastrophe. He also lays out a blueprint for what could turn the situation around, effectively mobilizing both government and the population to begin restoring the environment.
Yves-André Wainright served twice as Haiti’s Minister of Environment. Trained as an agronomist, Yves-André’s work has focused on environmental management, especially management of natural resources and waste.
There is every indication that major disasters could be the new midwives of history. Seeking to prevent them, the green economy aims to reduce “environmental risks” and “ecological scarcities” while improving human well-being and social equity. These are the stated goals of the Green Economy Initiative, launched in 2008 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Read more: http://www.eco-business.com/features/green-economy-seeks-to-maintain-growth-threatened-by-disasters/