Risk Award announced at Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

For the first time, Munich Re Foundation, the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos and United Nations secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) join forces and offer €100,000 to a risk reduction project that will contribute to increasing people’s resilience to disasters, especially in developing communities which are most at risk.

The new award was announced by the award partners at the Third Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk reduction that is closing today in Geneva.

Particularly concerned by the accumulation of risks resulting from increased exposure of people and assets to hazards, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and climate change, the awards partners will give priority to projects that focus on improving infrastructure and technical systems at grassroots level that are at immediate risks when disaster happen.

Disaster costs due to infrastructure damage are increasing in an exponential way that is alarming and will affect more communities in the future, reveals the second Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction released in Geneva.

“There is an urgent need to finance small projects that will make thousands of people more resilient at the local level. The prize is a very good initiative that will encourage more disaster risk reduction projects to support prevention, intervention and fast recovery from disasters at the community level. It is crucial, as discussed during the Third Session of the Global Platform that we better prepare communities to reduce risks as they are always at the frontline when disasters hit,” says Margareta Wahlström, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Reduction.

The prize will be awarded every two years and will accept proposals that are new, under development or upgrades of existing systems or services associated with risk management, early warning or water management to better equip communities to respond to natural hazards.

Any individual, teams or institutions from different sectors, including governmental bodies, can submit their proposal for the Risk Award.

“At the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction we learnt that top-down as well as bottom-up programmes and policies are essential and mutually reinforcing. With the Risk Award, we want to fund practices that can really make a difference at local level and help reduce risk so people and their assets can be better protected” says Thomas Loster from the Munich Re Foundation.

The Risk Award prize will be handed over at the International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC), starting with the first award ceremony at the IDRC Davos 2012, on 26 August 2012.

“The Risk Award fits exactly into GRF’s strategy to promote integrative risk management solutions at a community and city level,” says Walter Ammann, GRF Davos. “We are very pleased to provide the right forum to honour the Risk Award laureate.”

The first 2012 award will focus on early warning in urban areas to emphasize the importance of the UNISDR campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!”

The private sector, which was for the first time an active partner in the Third session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, issued an official call to action last Tuesday to implement five essentials for business in disaster risk reduction

Calls for “coalition of action” to address link between natural hazards and nuclear safety at Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction ending today

Geneva – In a year marred by disaster losses over US$300 billion, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called, at the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, for a “coalition of action” and a high-level meeting during the next General Assembly to address the link between natural hazards and nuclear safety.

The call came in a four-page Chair’s Summary produced at the end of the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, only a few months after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March triggered a worldwide nuclear scare.

Against the backdrop of more floods in southern United States and an earthquake in Spain, delegates also called for governments to account for disaster losses in a consistent and standardized manner, and look for clear evidence of the costs and benefits of investments in risk reduction through verifiable and accountable data.

“Participants at the Third Global Platform have recognized the urgency that we face, and realized clearly that the world needed to act quickly and in concrete ways to make the world safer. This helped produce a strong outcome, which I hope will stop the world from behaving recklessly and instead ensure that our development will prevent losses and protect gains and people,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, who presented the Chair’s Summary to delegates on behalf of the conference Chair, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, on the final day.

The Third Global Platform was also the site of the world’s first-ever World Reconstruction Conference, convened by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), where participants pledged to develop a recovery and reconstruction framework that would: better define roles and responsibilities within clear institutional arrangements; effectively capitalize on the strengths of each stakeholder; clearly place countries in the driver’s seat on decision-making and resource allocation; provide in-time relevant knowledge and lessons learned through existing networks of practitioners; and assist in establishing robust and transparent quality and result monitoring systems; and improve systems and instruments for recovery and reconstruction finance.

“This week’s World Reconstruction Conference has been a true testament to working together,” said Zoubida Allaoua, Director of the Finance, Economics, and Urban Development Department, the World Bank. “We are very encouraged that international agencies and disaster prone countries represented by this conference agreed on critical next steps needed to improve support to countries overwhelmed by the scale or cost of reconstruction after disasters.”

“This begins with an agreement to develop a global framework for international cooperation in reconstruction financing and technical assistance, and a commitment to develop and improve the channels through which this financing flows,” she added. “On this, GFDRR and the World Bank commit to take this forward as a global leader in the field and as a committed partner of countries weighed down by the growing threat of disasters.”

The Chair’s Summary called for ways to support to local communities to ensure they are more resilient to disasters, which are at the frontline of disasters. The text called for clear guidance and criteria for improving the effectiveness of National Platforms, the country-level equivalent of the Global Platform and main vehicle for identifying disaster risk reduction actions for nations, so that responsibility for reducing disaster risk with backing from political authorities.

On the international scale, the text states that Japan – one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and a consistent supporter of an international disaster risk reduction action plan – has offered to host the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015.

“The next United Nations climate change summit in Seoul, Korea, and the upcoming United Nations summit on sustainable development will be critical to maintain the momentum generated at the Global Platform,” added Ms. Wahlström, and echoed in the Chair’s Summary. “Disaster risk reduction is essential to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by protecting development investments.”

The world’s guiding instrument for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities, had yielded significant progress and that its principles had been firmly established and endorsed over the past five years. A first outline for a post-2015 disaster risk reduction instrument to succeed the current Hyogo Framework for Action would be produced through a consultative process managed by United Nations secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), for review in 2013 and finalization in 2014.

Around 3,000 delegates attended the Global Platform this year, including representatives of national and local Governments, international agencies and institutions, regional bodies, civil society, the private sector and the scientific and academic communities to share their experiences and expertise, express commitment, and set priorities to reduce disaster risk and build the resilience of communities and nations.

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