Global leaders risk leaving the world unprepared for disasters to come

World leaders risk leaving Sendai with an agreement on disaster risk reduction that will do little to reduce the risk of disasters for the world’s populations.

ActionAid representatives attending the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan report that financial commitments appear to be off the table in Sendai and that final agreements look set to fall short of the international community’s preparedness requirements.

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said today:

Everything we’re hearing coming out of negotiations at this stage indicates that quantitative financial targets will not be set at this conference and that commitments in this respect won’t be made. Without financial targets, the agreements and goals set in Sendai will be meaningless. Financing is crucial in ensuring adequate steps are taken to prepare ourselves for when disaster strikes.

“This is a critical moment for the world to act to prepare ourselves in future disasters, which, thanks to climate change, are coming harder and faster all the time. The agreements made here in Sendai will set the global agenda for the next fifteen years – we simply cannot afford for the commitments made to fall short. The lives and livelihoods of entire populations are at stake. Cyclone Pam and the devastation it has wreaked on Vanuatu is a timely reminder of this.

“It is the world’s poor and vulnerable people who feel the impact of disasters the most. Marginalised communities – particularly in developing countries – are already facing food shortages, water scarcity and mass displacement as a result of disasters increasing in scale and frequency. We will be failing these people if the right decisions aren’t made in the final two days of the Sendai conference.

“At this stage in negotiations, there is still time for the world’s governments to turn around and make the decisions required to ensure the world is prepared for what’s to come. We want to see developed countries commit at least 5% of their official development assistance to disaster risk reduction in the final days of this conference. We are urgently calling on governments to step up now.”

Editors' notes

Further information/interviews with Farah Kabir, contact:

(In Sendai) Holly Miller +61 432 781 294 or holly.miller@actionaid.org

(In Sendai) Tanjir Hossain +88 017 494 209 10 or tanjir.hossain@actionaid.org

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