National initiatives

After a decade of concerted effort to achieve the MDGs, and as we approach the mid-point of the ten-year HFA, definite progress can be seen in terms of government action to address disaster-related issues. First, more people are recognizing that disasters can be prevented and disaster impacts can be mitigated. Second, various actors at the national, regional and global levels have acknowledged the added value in coordinating disaster-related interventions. Third, there are positive indications that the perspectives of agencies working on disaster support and those working on long-term development are converging. Fourth, recognition is growing that reducing disaster risk is a development issue - one that requires addressing the underlying risk factors that make people and their livelihoods more vulnerable to both slow- and rapid-onset disasters.

The 2009 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR 2009a) appraised the progress made in implementing the HFA. The findings indicate that, globally, national efforts have focused on HFA Priorities 1, 2 and 5: strengthening policy, legislation and institutional frameworks, and on building capacities for disaster preparedness, response, risk assessments and early warning. The effort was found to be less adequate in HFA Priorities 3 and 4: using knowledge, education and outreach programmes to stimulate a culture of disaster resilience and addressing the underlying factors related to social, economic and infrastructure development across rural and urban contexts.

Challenges remain in compiling comprehensive risk assessments in a way that can inform disaster risk reduction and link early warning with disaster preparedness and response planning. Efforts also fell short in using national information to inform local action. One reason why progress in HFA implementation has been limited is that the scale of resources available for disaster risk reduction falls well short of what is needed to ensure the resilience of nations and communities (United Nations General Assembly |UNGA| 2008). Although the HFA pays attention to broader institutional frameworks and policies for risk reduction, the response to major disasters indicates the need for better and more suitable administrative systems and procedures (e.g. the Myanmar earthquake, Gujarat earthquake and the Asian tsunami).

Limitations were also found in the extent to which national development policies and plans included dimensions of disaster risk reduction. An evaluation review of 67 poverty-reduction strategy papers in 2012 indicated that only 20% discussed in detail disaster risk reduction, 25% did not mention disaster risk at all, and 55% mentioned only the relationship between disaster risk and poverty without providing concrete recommendations for addressing it. Countries that have integrated disaster risk reduction into their poverty-reduction strategy papers include Bangladesh (2005), Malawi (2006), Mozambique (2006) and Viet Nam (2006). Since the adoption of Sendai Framework, there is an improvement in incorporating disaster and climate risk factors in national strategies. In terms of the global targets of the Framework, 59 out of 195 countries have initiated efforts to address disaster risk." However such efforts are not sufficient for addressing significant and increasing climate and disaster risks.

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