Background

The Committee recalled that CEB took up the issue of disaster risk reduction at its 1st regular session for 2011 and committed to a coherent approach to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in programmes and operations of the UN system. To this end, HLCP, at its 23rd session in March 2012, had decided to create a time-bound Senior Management Group on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience, under the leadership of UNISDR, to develop a UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience. Upon recommendation by HLCP, CEB endorsed the Plan of Action at its 1st regular session of 2013.

As part of the Plan of Action, the UN system committed to making disaster risk reduction a priority by scaling up its capacity-building efforts, maximizing the efficiency of its development, humanitarian and recovery investments and emphasizing the importance of disaster risk across UN policies and programmes. The Plan of Action stipulates that by 2015, disaster risk reduction for resilience would be integrated in institutional policies and strategies of UN organizations.

Discussion

UNISDR had proposed that a CEB Statement be presented and a CEB high-level event be organized during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (14-18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan), as an opportunity for the UN system to reiterate its commitment to prioritize disaster risk reduction at the strategic and operational levels, and to demonstrate its readiness to support countries in the implementation of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

In presenting the draft CEB statement, which was prepared in consultation with the HLCP Senior Management Group, Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, noted that the international community, including the UN system, had made significant progress in embracing the concept of disaster risk reduction as an integral part of sustainable development. Expectations were high for the UN system to build on this progress and support preparations of and follow up to the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, including with regard to ensuring coherence between the sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk reduction agendas.

The draft statement, Ms. Wahlström noted, positioned the UN system as fully engaged in the three priority areas of the UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience. In addition, it aimed to increase the level of ambition and underscore the system’s readiness to review and update the Plan of Action in light of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. UN system Executive Heads attending the Sendai Conference were invited to refer to and elaborate on the messages of the joint statement. The Secretary General’s statement at the High-Level Segment of the Conference presented another important opportunity to demonstrate the UN system’s commitment to make disaster risk reduction a guiding principle of its work.
 
The Committee welcomed the joint CEB statement and thanked UNISDR for its continued leadership. Several members of the Committee offered proposals to further strengthen the joint statement, including by shortening and focusing it on high-level commitments; projecting a tone that appropriately reflected the voice of top UN officials; underscoring the universal relevance of disaster risk reduction as part of the emerging sustainable development agenda; ensuring a human rights-sensitive approach; addressing the linkages between disaster risk reduction and peace and security as well as humanitarian efforts; highlighting the role of ICTs for disaster risk reduction; pointing to man-made risks and disasters, such as cyber threats;  and highlighting the gender dimension of disaster risk reduction.

The Chair requested UNISDR to develop a revised draft based on these recommendations, to be endorsed electronically by HLCP in time for the upcoming CEB session.  The Committee also requested the HLCP Senior Management Group on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience, under the leadership of UNISDR, to proceed with the preparations for a UN high-level event at the Conference with participation of the Secretary General and Executive Heads, who are schedule to be present at the conference. 

Action

The Committee:

Agreed that the CEB statement to the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction would be finalized by UNISDR in light of the Committee’s discussion. The text would then be submitted to CEB for endorsement (Annex III).