Topic of Disaster Risk Reduction
Country: Federal Republic of Germany
Committee: UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
Disaster Risk Reduction is an issue that the UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) has addressed historically, as it understands the importance of saving lives. Every country in the world is at risk of facing disaster, and therefore it is in the interest of all countries to work together to develop ways to improve readiness and response to disasters. The UNDP, in the past, has worked with countries to strengthen national and subnational policy, legal, and institutional systems. The goals are to foster greater coherence of disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation efforts. Together, these efforts strengthen the resilience of countries along with urban and rural communities. The UNDP has published the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework), one of the first major agreements of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. The goal of the Sendai Framework is to create clear outlines and goals to reduce the risk of disasters and create substantial reduction of disaster destruction to economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets over the next 15 years.
The Federal Republic of Germany has a disaster relief program known as The Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk (THW, Federal Agency for Technical Relief). It is a civil protection organization controlled by the German federal government. 99% of its 79,514 members (2016) are volunteers working on the program internationally. The group focuses on a range of issues from technical and logistical support for firefighters and police to technical and humanitarian relief in foreign countries. The organization has been active in many disaster relief operations such as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.
In order to properly address the issue of disaster risk reduction, the delegation of Germany believes this committee first needs to decrease the direct harm of the disasters, and secondly, effectively deal with the effects of said disaster after it occurs. The first focus is investing in the proper training to prepare for both the disaster and the fallout. Local communities are crucial to disaster management. Education and training also needs to be implemented at the local level. Training, in addition to the collection of data, is also necessary to expand the current system of data sharing and analysis. Germany proposes a stronger network between countries to share such information. Making the link between short-term disaster risk reduction and long-term resilience may allow leaders to make major investments to protect their families and cities. Miami-Dade County, Florida , is a great example: the Department of Water & Sewer plans to spend a total of $13 billion on comprehensive system upgrades over the next two decades as part of its Capital Improvement Plan. All over the world, coastal cities are facing existential decisions about how to manage severe storms. Miami-Dade’s focus on the insurance benefits of resilience projects to create a virtuous cycle of further improvements create sustainability. Without such plans, the reliance on government disaster relief funds will inevitably grow. Moreover, it is important to invest and develop better infrastructure that not only may be able to withstand natural disasters, but also be able to be used to provide aid with great efficiency.
“Disaster Risk Reduction.” UNDP, www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development/planet/disaster-risk-reduction-and-recovery/disaster-risk-reduction.html.
Domres, B, et al. “The German Approach to Emergency/Disaster Management.” Medicinski Arhiv, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2000, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11117024.
Milner, Justin, et al. “Three Lessons That Can Help Improve Disaster Relief Efforts.” Urban Institute, 17 Jan. 2018, www.urban.org/urban-wire/three-lessons-can-help-improve-disaster-relief-efforts.
“Overview of the National Disaster Management System.” European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – European Commission, 14 Oct. 2019, ec.europa.eu/echo/what/civil-protection/disaster-management/germany_en.
“Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.” UNDRR News, www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/43291.
Vajjhala, Shalini. “Making the Leap from Disaster Relief to Resilience.” Brookings, Brookings, 4 Oct. 2017, www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/10/04/making-the-leap-from-disaster-relief-to-resilience/.
- Richard Li