International Strategy for Disaster Reduction:
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
The topic on international strategy for disaster reduction concerns itself with measures aimed at ensuring that disasters and the risks attendant to such disasters are reduced so as to avert loss. This strategy has been adopted by the United Nations in recognition of the fact that the reduction of disasters and risks is essential for economic sustainability and development in any country. Indeed, the rate at which the risk posed by disasters is moving continued to pose serious threats to people and other assets, as well as other initiatives for development. Some of the serious catastrophes that have rocked the world in recent times include the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. These developments in the world have caused untold destruction of property and loss of life. It is in this light that the United Nations established the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) in January 1990. This decade was targeted at reducing the loss of life and destruction of property and socio-economic disruption through concerted efforts. The United Nations General Assembly launched the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction with the objective of enabling the resilience of communities to the effects of natural, environmental and technological disasters (ISDR, 2004).
My Committee is the Economic and Financial (Second Committee) of a larger organ, the United Nations. The committee is responsible for this particular topic of disaster reduction for the reason that it core objectives is dealing with issues relating to economic growth and development that entails sustainable development, human settlements and information and communication technologies development. Undoubtedly, natural disasters debilitate against these benefits and causes destruction to human settlements and curtails sustainable development as a result, my committee has to be involved in measures to reduce and prevent disasters if it to achieve its objectives for its founding.
The 1945 Charter of the United Nations begins to tackle this topic of disaster reduction from its preamble where it states that it seeks to promote faith in fundamental rights. Further, in Article 1 of the Charter, it provides that there is need for international cooperation in getting a solution to socio-economic, cultural and human problems. Members of the Charter have adopted the principle of Universal Access so as to strengthen the contribution of the Charter towards disaster management.
Various other international conventions and documents are relevant to this topic as they advocate for the adoption of strategies on an international scale to avert disasters. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 states that every person has the right to life, liberty and security of persons while article 17 states that everyone has the right to own property both alone and together with others. These fundamental rights are threatened by natural disasters, and this makes it imperative for such disasters to be eliminated or reduced. More so, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirms the position that persons can only exercise freedoms in conditions that are created for this purpose. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights make it the case that people have the right to particular liberties and that such liberties can only be exercised in the absence of fear of natural disasters. Amidst all these international pieces of legislation and conventions, the one that stands out in regard to this topic of disaster reduction is the Hyogo Declaration, which seeks to develop and implement three strategies. These strategies include the development and strengthening of institutions and mechanisms for building resilience to natural disasters, the inculcation of disaster reduction strategies into sustainable development policies and the incorporation of these approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness and response. One of the regional frameworks in the Arab nation is the Aqaba Declaration in mitigating disasters, in various cities. In particular, this Declaration necessitates a greater nexus between strong disaster management policies and urban development planning among other objectives (Kellett & Peters, 2013).
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established by the United Nations Millennium Summit in the year 2000 following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All the member states of the United Nations did commit to strive to achieve the Millennium development goals by the year 2015. The MDGs are eight in number and target at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensure environmental sustainability among other goals. Goal 7 of the MDGs is usually keen on ensuring the environmental sustainability by integrating the principles of sustainable development into the programs and policies of countries as well as reverse the loss of environmental resources (Waage, 2010).
Greece as a country is fully aware of the dangerous activities arising from disasters and is committed to confronting the challenges that beset them by developing strategies for disaster reduction. The position of Greece as a nation is in recognition of the prime importance of disaster reduction by virtue of the myriad of disasters that the country has faced over the years. In particular, Greece takes a holistic mode of doing things majorly targeted at prevention of thee natural disasters in conformity with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. In this context various governmental ministries in Greece have been involved in the disaster reduction process and include the Greek Atomic Energy Commission, the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization. In addition, the country has also established a Hellenic National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction that seeks to achieve the emergency preparedness and avert disasters. To put it bluntly, the position of Greece in regard to the issue of disaster reduction and mitigation of risks is that the nation there is a great need to have strategies in place to avert the risks wrought by natural disasters that are prevalent to the country. With regards to the position of Greece, the international community needs to take a stance or a stand on the issue namely that countries have to put initiatives in place so as to confront and tackle the issue of disasters. (Dynes, 1994).
In the past 15 years, Greece as a nation has been a party to various international conventions and treaties that are related to the issue of disaster reduction. To this end, Greece as a nation is a member of the European Union (EU) by virtue of its geographical position among other factors. It supports the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Program that avails not only effective but also efficient aid to victims of natural disasters both within and without the borders of the continent. Similarly, the country participates in the EU’s CivPro Regional Strategies for Disaster Prevention project that seeks thee exchange of policies and strategies in the reduction and prevention of the effects of disasters. In addition, Greece is in support of the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action that was adopted in the 20005 World Conference that focuses on addressing the issue of disaster through prevention of such disasters. Other international treaties and conventions that Greece is a party to include its adoption of A/RES/54/233 that accentuates the need for international cooperation in offering humanitarian aid in the event of natural disasters as well as the A/RES/67/209 that underscores the role of disaster reduction program if sustainable development is to be achieved (Wisner, 2004).
In regard to disaster reduction and prevention, Greece as a nation has worked in collaboration with its allies such as those that are member states of the Hyogo Declaration through enhanced coordination, public participation and the promotion of information systems. In particular, Greece is committed to seeing to it that there is increased international cooperation in terms of the provision of humanitarian aid and assistance to victims of natural disasters. Some of the countries that are allied to Greece in these particular endeavors include Brazil, China, India, Russia, Panama and Haiti among others (Nations, 2005).
Greece has been a party to a number of recent solutions in the past five years geared towards the addressing of the problem of natural disasters. For instance, Greece has allotted a budget through the General Secretariat of Civil Protection, to enable emergency repines and cater for disaster relief initiatives such as the provision of food, medical aid, shelter and transport for victims of disasters. Further, the Hellenic Red Cross program has made it possible for training to happen in public schools and at the household level in terms of promoting initiatives of disaster prevention and protection. In addition, Greece has worked in intense collaboration with the Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization as well as the Raising Earthquake Awareness and Coping Children's Emotions in not only getting knowledge on protection mechanisms in times of earthquakes but also in studying the needs of citizens and developing materials on the safety measures in times of disaster (McEntire, 2000).
It is our recommendation that there is a need for deepening of relations with donor organizations and countries so as to provide the much needed resources to enhance the disaster prevention and protection mechanisms. Further, there needs to be concerted efforts to have outreach programs and other training opportunities for people from a number of states who will be skilled in the evacuation and addressing of such natural disasters as and when they occur. It is critical to mobilize resources given the case that a number of developing nations do suffer damage of a great magnitude that they are usually unable to recover from. Further, a number of states need to foster good relations and forge partnerships for operational support in cases of emergency. another good recommendation that will have preventive effect rather than curative effect is to engage in climate administration whereby states that are usually at risk of these natural disasters such as earthquake do involve themselves with studying the causes of climate change and taking measures to reduce the change of climate which is the main cause of major natural disasters. According to statistics, Greece experiences a high number of natural disasters especially earthquakes. In particular, the nation has had over 64 natural disasters between the year 1984 and the year 2010 and affecting in excess of 300,000 people. Other disasters include floods, wildfire, drought and extreme high temperatures, factors of which are partly attributable to climate change.
Indubitably, there will be impediments or barriers to the implementation of these recommendations such as the difficulties in forging and fostering unity and cooperation between all these member states. Further, some countries that do not experience natural disasters frequently may choose not to pool funds together for fear of losing out (ISDR, 2004).
We made use of a variety of resources whilst doing the reaserch on this partilcuar topic. some of these resources encompassed documents from websites, books and journal articles. they include Community Emergency Planning: False Assumptions and Inappropriate Analogies’in the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters by R.Dynes,The Hyogo Declaration on Disaster Reduction by the United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals: a cross-sectoral analysis and principles for goal setting after 2015 as discuused by Waage J in the Lancet journal, the book titled At Risk: Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters authored by B. Wisner among other sources as listed in the references page.
Dynes, R. (1994). ‘Community Emergency Planning: False Assumptions and Inappropriate Analogies’. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 12(2): , 141-158.
ISDR, U. (2004). Living with Risk: A global review of disaster reduction initiatives. Geneva: UN.
Kellett, J., & Peters, K. (2013). Dare to prepare: taking risk seriously”. New York: Overseas Development Institute.
McEntire, D. (2000). Sustainability or invulnerable development? Proposals for the current shift in paradigms’. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 15(1) , 58-61.
Nations, U. (2005, June 22). Hyogo Declaration on Disaster Reduction. Retrieved March 17, 2014, from A/CONF.206/6: http://www.refworld.org/docid/42b988b24.html
Waage, J. (2010). Millennium Development Goals: a cross-sectoral analysis and principles for goal setting after 2015. he The Lancet 376 (9745): , 991-1023.
Wisner, B. (2004). At Risk: Natural hazards, people’s vulnerability and disasters. London: Routledge.