Governments fall short at World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Responding to the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, a global plan that’s meant to build the resilience of communities to disasters over the next 15 years and lead to bolder commitments on disaster risk reduction, Oxfam’s Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor Scott Paul said:

“The world’s poorest people, who are most vulnerable to natural disasters, have again been let down by governments. Negotiators in Sendai were supposed to agree on a much needed bold new plan to build countries’ resilience to events like Cyclone Pam that has just devastated Vanuatu, one of our least developed nations. Instead what was adopted is a set of half-measures that will not keep pace with rapidly rising disaster risk around the world.

“Oxfam is deeply disappointed by the outcome at Sendai, especially as just days ago, the negotiators heard an impassioned plea from Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale. It seems that his timely call to action fell on deaf ears. Leaders have built this framework around a set of flimsy, unambitious targets that will not galvanize bold action or create meaningful accountability.

“Extreme weather events, such as Cyclone Pam and past typhoons Hagupit and Haiyan, provide clear evidence of the need to slash emissions and to prepare the most vulnerable communities for the dramatic shifts in weather brought on by climate change.

“The world’s poorest people are being hit ever harder by disasters, undercutting their efforts to escape poverty. Rich countries know this but they have again turned their back on their less well-off neighbors, failing to offer additional financial and technical support to developing countries.

“The international community’s inability to make concrete commitments to finance disaster risk reduction threatens to undercut its ambitious anti-poverty agenda – and puts added pressure on governments to take bold action at more high-profile international conferences on the Sustainable Development Goals and an ambitious new global climate change agreement later this year.

“We do welcome that the agreement puts women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable to disasters, at the heart of the world’s risk reduction agenda. It is no accident that groups with little political power are most at risk, and we intend to use what is positive in this framework to create meaningful change for those currently being left behind.”

Notes to editors: 

For more information on Oxfam’s work on resilience and disaster risk reduction see:
Can’t Afford to Wait: Why Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation plans in Asia are still failing millions of people, available at: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/asia-climate-change-cant-afford-wait

and

No Accident: Resilience and the inequality of risk, available at: https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/no-accident-resilience-and-inequality-risk

Contact information: 

Scott Paul, Oxfam's Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor, +1 202 560 4231, SPaul@OxfamAmerica.org

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.