This paper outlines the preliminary reflections from GNDR member organisations from the global south on the progress being made in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SF). Year 2023 is marked as the mid- point in implementing the Sendai Framework as well as other related agreements , conventions and agendas/agreements such as Paris Agreement, Urban Agenda and others. This paper aims to map out the challenges, opportunities and recommendations from civil society organisations across the Asia Pacific, Africa and Americas and Caribbean. Overall, respondents across Africa and Asia felt that some progress had been made in working towards achieving the Sendai Framework targets. However, in Asia Pacific, the majority of respondents felt that they were unsure of the progress being made, thus calling for increased transparency in disaster risk governance monitoring.
Particular achievements noted include (1) governance mechanisms for Disaster Risk Reduction are now in place (2) investment in disaster risk reduction has been made across stakeholders and at all levels and (3) civil society organisations have made significant advancements in supporting communities to increase their understanding of risk. However, it is also well noted that global risk is increasing and significant challenges still persist. In particular, challenges include a lack of progress around (1) disaster risk reduction financing, (2) meaningful inclusion in decision making, (3) international coordination, (4) policy and practice coherence and (5) a lack of understanding on how to practically address the systemic, interconnected and global nature of risk. Nevertheless, a number of opportunities have also been highlighted, including (1) the fact that respondents felt governments had a greater openness to collaboration with civil society organisations and communities for locally led DRR (2) strengthened global understanding of risk governance (3) significant lesson learning from COVID 19 and (4) the benefits of meaningly including women leaders and young people in disaster risk reduction decision making. Reflecting on this, GNDR has set out 8 key actions required to strengthen the Sendai Framework progress moving forward. These include (1) Listen to the community (2) invest at the local level (3) strengthen coordination and coherence for risk informed development and recognise the role that Civil Society Organisations have to lead collaboration (4) recognise and tackle gender inequality as a driver of risk (5) transition from seeing inclusion as a standalone topic (6) learn from Covid 19 (7) strengthen DRR governance in conflict affected states (8) involve youth in disaster risk reduction.
The Sendai Declaration and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) was adopted and endorsed by endorsed by Member States in the United Nations General Assembly, providing the framework for all-of-society and all-of-State institutions engagement in preventing and reducing disaster risks posed by both natural and man-made hazards and related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.
Year 2023 is marked as the mid- point in implementing the Sendai Framework as well as other related agreements , conventions and agendas/agreements such as Paris Agreement, Urban Agenda and others. The UN General Assembly decided to hold a midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework in 2023 to assess progress on integrating disaster risk reduction into policies, programmes and investments at all levels, identify good practice gaps and challenges and accelerate the path to achieving the goal of the Sendai Framework and its seven global targets by 2030 ”emphasising“ that the Sendai Framework provides guidance to a sustainable recovery from COVID 19 and help identify and address underlying drivers of disaster risk in a systematic manner.
In view of the above, GNDR undertook an independent review of the Sendai Framework across three regions: (1) Africa (2) The Americas and Caribbean (3) Asia Pacific. All data was collected through an online survey sent to GNDR members. The responses to this survey were collected until 31st Jan 2022.
It is important to note that this survey feeds into a wider piece of research being undertaken by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (SEM). The findings outlined in this report are from a sample of 120 civil society organisations in the global south, across Asia Pacific, Africa, Americas and Caribbean. The recommendations and call to action have been developed by GNDR from a civil society perspective.
GNDR is the largest international network of civil society organisations working to strengthen resilience and reduce risk in communities.
We connect frontline civil society organisations with national and international policymaking institutions and governments. We influence policies and practises by amplifying the voices of people most at risk. Therefore GNDR is well placed to capture and represent the perception of the civil society community as we reach the mid term review point of the Sendai Framework.
Members from three regions: Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas and Caribbean were asked to share their reflections on the progress of the Sendai Framework through an online survey disseminated by GNDR’s regional leads.
Respondents were asked to reflect on and assess the progress of the Sendai Framework in relation to its four priorities and seven global targets.
- Understanding disaster risk
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
- Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
1. Target A: Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower the average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
2. Target B: Substantially reduce the number of people affected globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015
3. Target C: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
4. Target D: Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
5. Target E: Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
6. Target F: Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the present Framework by 2030.
7. Target G: Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to people by 2030
The findings included in this paper have been captured and consolidated from three more in depth regional reports. A summary of each can be found in the appendix of this paper. The analysis of this paper aims to draw on global trends and differences in civil society’s perceived Sendai Framework progress.
Overall, respondents across Africa and Americas and Caribbean felt that some progress had been made in working towards achieving the Sendai Framework targets. However, in Asia Pacific, the majority of respondents felt that they were unsure of the progress being made.
Here, 42% of respondents from the Africa region felt that some progress had been made. 56.3% of respondents in the America and Caribbean supported this view, with a further 37.6% of respondents from the Americas and Caribbean region stating significant progress had been made. Whereas in the Asia Pacific region, 37% of respondents were unsure about the progress being made.
Respondents felt that particular achievements included:
- The fact that governance mechanisms for disaster risk reduction are now in place
- Investment in disaster risk reduction has been made across stakeholders and at all levels.
- Civil society organisations in particular have made significant advancements in supporting communities to increase their understanding of risk
Furthermore, respondents felt that the most effective type of interventions working towards achieving the Sendai Framework included those that focused on community led interventions, collaborative governance and an all of society approach.
Reflections on the Sendai Framework priorities and targets
When asked to reflect on the specific progress of the priorities and targets set out by the Sendai Framework, respondents from across the three regions feel that priority 1 (understanding risk) has made significant progress. However, priority 2 (risk governance), priority 3 (investing is disaster risk reduction) are felt to not be progressing well enough. Reflections on priority 4 (preparedness and efforts to build back better) differed with some progress being made, but not enough.
When asked to reflect on the specific targets set out in the Sendai Framework, respondents’ reflections aligned across the three regions. Here, target A (reducing global mortality), target B (reducing people affected), target C (reducing economic loss) and target E (increasing countries with disaster risk management plans) are felt by respondents to have made progress.
Furthermore, respondents felt that some, but not enough progress had been made on target D (substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure). However, Target F (enhance international cooperation) and Target G (increase the availability of EWS) are felt by respondents to be lacking in progress and are still seen as a significant challenge.
When asked what specific challenges were still being faced when working towards achieving the Sendai Framework goals, a number of recurring issues were identified.
- Progress is not shared widely or visible for civil society and affected communities, making it hard to follow
- Coordination amongst stakeholders is still poor
- Conflict affected states are not including disaster risk reduction as a priority
- Resource allocation in the global south is not high enough
- Risk is increasing but resourcing is not
- Governments are not allocating enough finance to DRR
- Resources do not reach the local level
- Governments are not prioritising the most vulnerable communities
- Governments are not working with communities enough or listening to local communities’ experience, expertise and local knowledge
- Equality and inclusion is still seen as a stand alone issue and needs to be mainstreamed into all areas of disaster risk reduction
- Tackling gender inequality as a driver of risk is not mainstreamed or well understood
- Youth engagement is low, which is seen as a missed opportunity
- There is still a lack of understanding of how to integrate risk analysis with climate change
- The role of civil society organisations (CSO) and the community is not clear
- Involvement of civil society in national and local decision making is not strong enough with
- CSOs often invited as an afterthought without meaningful engagement
- There is a gap between advancement in policy and implementation in practice
- Disaster response is still prioritised over prevention
- Emergency response is still not including a build back better approach
Respondents also shared the opportunities that they felt existed and should be utilised to progress the Sendai Framework.
- Regional plans are felt to offer the opportunity to strengthen disaster risk reduction, particularly when sharing information and coordinating Early Warning Systems
- Respondents felt that there is a greater openness by governments to civil society and other stakeholders, to promote coordinated and collaborative action aligned with the interests of strengthening resilience.
- Respondents felt that the COVID 19 pandemic has offered an opportunity to learn and incorporate biological disasters in the Sendai Framework
- Respondents felt that COVID 19 has provided the opportunity to identify the governance weaknesses in risk reduction across the globe and the opportunity to increase understanding of the systemic nature and soci, economic and political elements of risk reduction
- Respondents felt that local women leaders have the capacity, knowledge and skills to strengthen risk governance if empowered to lead
Call to Action
Reflecting on this initial set of recommendations from civil society organisations working on disaster risk reduction, GNDR has set out 8 key actions required to strengthen the Sendai Framework progress moving forward.
GNDR urges decision makers at all levels to:
1. Listen to the community
- Meaningfully include local leaders in the implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework
- Institutionalise including community voice, knowledge and recommendations in decision making
- Promote the analysis of the systemic nature of risk and risk informed development from the perspective of the communities most at risk
2. Invest at the local level
- Prioritise making sure risk reduction finance reaches the local level
- Empower and finance locally lead action for risk reduction. Include local leaders in decision making spaces at local, national and global spaces. Meaningfully include local leaders in deciding how risk reduction budget is spent at the local level.
- Integrate climate-related hazards and their impacts in local DRR planning
3. Strengthen coordination and coherence for risk informed development. Recognise the role that Civil Society Organisations have to lead collaboration
- Accept and strengthen the role of local CSOs in convening the all society approach to effectively achieve Sendai Framework commitments.
- Recognise the systemic nature of risk and adopt a coherent approach across all global frameworks for an effective risk informed development, risk reduction and resilience building for the communities most at risk
- Link DRR decision making to climate change negotiations. Specifically to loss and damage and the need for the global north to increase financial support to the global south
- Incorporate the understanding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th report in the strategy of implementing the second part of SFDRR
4. Recognise and tackle gender inequality as a driver of risk
- Recognise gender inequality as a barrier to achieving the sendai framework targets and invest in action to meaningfully tackling gender inequality for strengthened disaster risk reduction
- Empower women leaders to meaningfully engage in disaster risk reduction at all level
5. Transition from seeing inclusion as a stand alone topic
Recognize the intersectional dynamics of marginalisation in relation to risk
Integrate inclusion across all areas of the Sendai Framework
6. Learn from Covid 19
- Understand and address the weakness in governance that COVID 19 demonstrated
- Learn from the socio, economic and political elements of risk reduction highlighted by the pandemic
- Include biological disasters, such as pandemics in the sendai framework going forward
- Work to ensure everyone has access to the Covid 19 vaccine
7. Strengthen DRR governance in conflict affected states
- Support fragile states to implement disaster risk reduction governance, policy and plans
- Invest in understanding which fragile states do not meaningfully include DRR governance, understand the barriers and identify solutions
- Increase support to communities most at risk living in contexts of conflict and fragility
8. Involve youth in disaster risk reduction
- Meaningfully include youth leaders in all levels of disaster risk reduction decision making
We hope that this paper helps to provide a preliminary civil society perspective on the progress being made by the Sendai Framework, the challenges being faced and recommendations for achieving the targets by 2030.
It is important to note that increasing risk and decreasing resources to manage risk was highlighted as a major challenge across all regions. In particular, climate change and conflict are being described as super risk drivers by communities on the front line of risk.
In 2022, an estimated 274 million people will face hunger, conflict, and displacement as a result of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The uncertainty around climate change is making it more challenging to prepare and prevent disasters and decision makers are being urged to connect climate change negotiations with risk reduction governance mechanisms.
Furthermore, GNDR recognises the conflict in the Ukraine as an example of the systemic nature and global connectedness of risk. Here, the conflict is having a direct impact on rising food insecurity across the MENA and Africa regions and risks pushing already food insecure countries into serious states of hunger and famine. GNDR also recognises the importance of not overlooking the ongoing conflict and protracted crises being felt by those on the front line of risk in fragile states such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, DRC and Ethiopia.
Therefore, GNDR urges global decision makers to listen meaningfully, including local leaders and civil society in decision making, and prioritise the challenges and recommendations coming from the local level.
This paper, including an appendix, can be downloaded in PDF format.Download