In May 2017, over 4,000 people from 182 countries attended the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted by the Mexican Government and UNISDR. The aim was to monitor progress against the Sendai framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

Whilst the frequency of disasters is increasing, we all need to work together to reduce the possibility of disasters and where that is not possible, to reduce the potential impact. This could mean improving infrastructure, creating plans or preparing communities. The aim is to reduce lives lost when a disaster strikes and to reduce the economic impact. In 2015, the UN member states agreed to 5 commitments to reduce the risk of disasters by 2030. It’s an ambitious but very important target.

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy was present at the Global Platform meeting, where we shared the opportunities to learn more about the humanitarian system with participants. Through our online learning platform Kaya  and with our Academy Centres, officials from civil protection agencies, local authorities, development experts and national governments can share their knowledge and experience whilst learning from others.

The new Bangladesh Academy Centre liaised with BRAC and 24 civil society organisations to create a position paper from the Bangladesh civil society in the effort to build a road map of opportunity towards and beyond the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Bangladesh and around the Globe. The Bangladesh Civil Society Position Paper highlights key concerns, voicing civil societies’ experience and recommendations to aid discussion and advocacy initiatives of participants and representatives at the Global Platform.

The conference was opened by the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and the Under Secretary General, Amina Mohammad. Representatives from local authorities and national governments shared their experience and highlighted barriers to success with the hope of learning from one another ahead of the 2030 deadline.

Key messages from the conference focused on the importance of inclusivity, coordination and collaboration with all stakeholders and planning in advance. Experience from several new initiatives that have been piloted over the last few years were shared. For example, the German Government funded forecast based funding which uses scientific information and early warning systems to trigger early action ahead of a predictable disaster. The Peruvian Red Cross Society shared their experience using this mechanism to prevent the negative impact of cold waves in the Andes mountains.

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