Statement to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction


Statement to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

The following statement was delivered by Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the UN, Daniel Perell, on behalf of the Sendai Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction on 15 May, 2019.

Geneva—15 May 2019

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Sendai Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism of the UN DRR, a new platform to facilitate the participation of all stakeholders in the Sendai follow up and review processes. A slightly longer, though still shorter, version of this statement is available on the conference website.

Mr Chair,

When people work together, they thrive together. Our lives are entirely interdependent and disasters, perhaps more than any other events, demonstrate this reality in stark relief.

Many hazards are increasing in severity and frequency, a trend that is likely to accelerate with global climate change and the large-scale degradation of ecosystems.

In response, we seek to open avenues of cooperation, communication and capacity building for inclusive disaster risk reduction, and to model the kinds of relationships necessary across all lines of demographic distinction. It is an inclusive process that is necessary and replicable.

We recognize that our diverse identities and resources serve to strengthen our unity and dignity and that full inclusion is vital, particularly of those disproportionately affected by disasters and those who are most often left behind.

The noble aspirations of the UN depend on the mobilization of the capacity latent in every human being. Rigorously applied, this basic truth is truly transformative.

Ongoing efforts to promote inclusiveness at all stages of the disaster cycle are commendable indeed, but today’s institutional, economic and social structures, grounded largely in a culture of competition and antagonism, perpetuate power imbalances and entrench inequalities. Unsustainable patterns of human behavior, including short-termism and a growth-first mentality only deepen the divides.

While the Sendai Framework calls for an all-of-society approach, including new voices in old systems is insufficient. It requires unified vision, shared volition and concerted action. It runs deeper than economic, technological or political interdependence. It is a call to rethink and revitalize the values underlying our relationships with each other, with the broader ecosystem and with future generations.

In short, just as new diseases require new diagnostic tools, arriving at remedies to humanity’s new ills will require new models of principled collaboration and inquiry.

These include: humility - through genuine and inclusive partnership at all stages and at all levels. Trust - through localized resource allocation that reflects the true value of investing in prevention and resilience. Wisdom - through tailored and evidence-based strategies that value diverse knowledge sources, strategies and technologies. Empathy through recognition of and focus on those most at risk, particularly through resilience and capacity strengthening. Coherence - through risk-informed development across all dimensions of the SDGs. Transparency - through regular reporting at all levels on progress made and lessons learned with the goal of improvement rather than adulation. Hope - through approaching problem solving constructively.

Though their impacts vary, disasters do not distinguish between developed or developing, and impacts are felt beyond geographical boundaries.

With this in mind, we issue call not only to Member States and policymakers, but to all people. We must put the reality of our shared destiny at the center and at the start of our deliberations and actions.At the international level, yes, but where the action truly takes place: at the local level.

It is this commitment to a collective, unified, and inclusive process that is needed to strengthen DRR and for humanity to flourish.

I thank you.