By J C Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
TORONTO (IDN) - Two thousand cities around the globe have signed on a United Nations global campaign – launched in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015 – to take on the challenge of integrating disaster risk management into their development processes.
The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready! is promoted by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Presently, about 25 per cent of the participating cities are located in the Americas, and approximately 11 per cent (or 226) of all cities are situated in Brazil.
“This growth is due to all sectors, and particularly to the increased prioritization by local governments of disaster risk reduction and resilience building issues,” Ricardo Mena, Head of the Regional Office of UNISDR in the Americas, said in a press release.
The latest city to join the campaign, Aguas da Prata, a municipality of 7,500 people in the state of São Paulo, may be described as a “typical example” of a small community in Brazil where periodic flooding and occasional landslides pose a risk to its inhabitants and development.
Through a programme called “Municipio Verde Azul” (Green Blue Municipality) the state of São Paulo provides financial support, equipment and other benefits to municipalities enrolled in the campaign. Additional support also comes from the city's administrative region of Campinas, where the Director of the Civil Defence team, Sidnei Furtado is a staunch supporter of the campaign.
“The campaign is a great opportunity to change paradigms and contribute to the reorganization of the National System of Protection and Civil Defence. It allows for greater scope and national coordination and strengthens prevention as key to strategic planning in disaster risk reduction,” said Sidnei Furtado, Director of the Campinas.
Local governments as well as citizens are instrumental in promoting the campaign, Furtado added, emphasizing that the mayor of Campinas played a “key role in the realization of this work,” but that overall “everyone has played a part to accomplish the final result.”
The worldwide campaign is based on 10 essentials for developing local resilience, which in turn build on the 5 priorities for action of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), adopted by UN Member States for the period 2005-2015.
A post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is expected to be approved at a follow-up conference in March 2015, in Sendai, Japan, emphasizing the need to continue to work to strengthen community resilience, particularly in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants.
UN News reported on July 22 that Member States had forwarded to the United Nations General Assembly a set of proposed goals that consider economic, social and environmental dimensions to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for future generations.
Concluding its thirteenth and final session in New York on July 19, the Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals proposed 17 goals with 169 targets, covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.
“The proposal of the Open Working Group brings together a breadth of economic, social and environmental issues in a single set of goals like never before. All those involved in crafting these 17 goals can be proud of themselves,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo said in a news release.
“Member States have shown a determination and willingness to work together for people and planet that bodes well for the General Assembly’s negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, Wu said. The proposed goals will be considered by the Assembly as part of the broader development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt in September 2015.
Focusing on what it calls the three pillars of sustainable development – namely social, economic and environmental – the goals aim, among others, to promote sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment and the sustainable management of water and sanitation. On the economic front, they outline promoting decent work for all and pledge to reduce inequality within and among countries. In regards to the environment, they will aim to make human settlements safer and ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
This plan follows the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), considered the most successful global anti-poverty push in history. The Goals have significantly improved the lives of millions of people worldwide through concerted and targeted efforts. While several targets have already been met, such as halving the number of people living in extreme poverty, it is expected that more targets will be achieved by the 2015 deadline.
To continue the momentum, world leaders called for an ambitious long-term sustainability plan to succeed the MDGs. The new agenda must address the unfinished business of the MDGs, beginning with the eradication of extreme poverty. It will also need to address pressing global sustainable development challenges like environmental degradation and promote sustained and inclusive economic growth in poor countries. [IDN-InDepthNews – August 17, 2014]
Image: 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).