BRICS ministers meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction begins in Udaipur
Udaipur : Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population would be living in cities and thus there is a strong need to focus on urban disasters. “Tomorrow’s risk is being built today. The unplanned expansion of cities to accommodate rapid population growth, combined with inappropriate land use planning and partial implementation, non – compliance of safety norms, building standards have further increased vulnerability of urban areas” Rijiju said in his inaugural address of the two-day BRICS meeting on Disaster Management here on Monday. The event has been organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority.
The minister called upon the member nations to collaborate for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) , that it will, in turn, influence the global agenda for strengthening efforts on DRR and resilience. He said that we need to move towards an all-society approach to tackle disasters. While governments have to pay a central role, they can not do it by themselves. They have to take everybody along. The Government action must be geared towards empowering and supporting communities and individuals to be more and more self-reliant in their quest for resilience. Speaking on the occasion Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria said that disasters do not discriminate between people and boundaries, they just strike and challenge humanity. He narrated Rajasthan’s success story in dealing with the disastrous hailstorm that effected 31 of the 33 districts in the state last year. “ The disaster had struck in 2.4 million hectare area affecting 2.4 million farmers across the state and due to the wise collaboration between the Centre and the state government within the shortest possible span 400 million dollars were disbursed to the victims directly to their bank accounts which had never happened before” Kataria said.
Earlier in his key address, Addl. Principal Secretary to PM, P.K. Mishra, noted that all BRICS nations face common problems in terms of developing robust early warning systems, involvement of communities and building their resilience, and finding resources for rehabilitation and reconstruction. He added that it was essential to share success stories, case studies, innovations, low cost technology, joint exercises and mutual capacity building to reduce risk. The first technical session discussed the mainstreaming of DRR in key development sectors, apart from capacity building at the local level and strengthening of response mechanisms. Key challenges and recent developments in early warning systems were discussed during the second session. Member countries shared their experiences and lessons learnt for ensuring last mile connectivity and community level action on early warning.
The Sendai thread
All the five BRICS countries are parties to the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in March, 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. A number of SDGs have specific targets related to Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
Key government functionaries working in the area of Disaster Management, including senior officials and technical experts from member countries, are participating in the event. The meeting will focus on two distinct but inter-related themes of Flood Risk Management and Forecasting of Extreme Weather Events in the context of Changing Climate.
South African Minister, Des Van Royeen, suggested that it was important to introduce cost-effective and life-saving measures for reducing losses and effective recovery after a disaster. Oleg Manuilo, Director of Russia’s Civil Defence, said reducing socio-economic losses was the purpose behind disaster management. He further said that effective forecasting is bringing about a change in disaster risk management.
Pang Chenmin, Director-General of the Department of Disaster Relief of China, highlighted the importance of technology and research in key areas of disaster management. He also emphasized upon knowledge sharing among member countries. Brazil’s National Secretary for Civil Defense, Wesley De Almeida Felinto said that he was hopeful that the meet will result in a solid outcome on collaboration among BRICS nations.