From commitment to action: the local implementation of the Sendai Framework for the achievement of the SDGs

Global platform for disaster risk reduction

Over 6000 participants gathered in Cancun, Mexico, on 22-26 May for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, hosted by the Government of Mexico and organized by UNISDR. This gathering provided the first opportunity to review globally the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted in 2015.

This revision addressed, among others, the Target ‘E’ of the Sendai Framework that calls to substantially increase by 2020 the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies.

The UCLG delegation was led by Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg, President of United Cities France (CUF) and Co-President of UCLG. The local and regional governments present in Cancun called national governments to ensure the necessary financial, institutional and legislative support. They also requested to the international community support and technical and financial assistance in order to achieve the imminent goals set by the Sendai Framework and the other international agendas. The local and regional government constituency in Cancun further took this opportunity to visualize their concrete experiences, exchange and explore partnerships for the further development of local disaster risk reduction initiatives. 

At the Opening Ceremony of the Global Platform, Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, recalled that disasters are significantly more critical in poorer communities and called, in addition to strengthening timely responses, to invest on disaster preparedness. He also underlined the importance of solidarity and especially in the Caribbean and offering the support of Mexico to small and most affected countries in the region. Amina Mohamed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, advocated for a paradigm shift by switching from managing disasters to managing disaster risks and called to collaborate with local governments and other stakeholders. She further asserted that the creation of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020 will be vital for the overall success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN Deputy Secretary-General underlined the importance of addressing all agendas in a coherent manner.

The Co-President of UCLG, Roland Ries, was invited to join the Ministerial Roundtable “Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Overall Economic Planning”. The Mayor recalled that local governments are at the heart of disaster risk reduction as they bridge with local citizens towards raise awareness and joint preparedness to disasters. He requested the support of the international community for the provision of adequate legal frameworks and fiscal decentralization, while highlighting the interlinkages between the Sendai Framework, SDGs and the New Urban Agenda at local level.

Summit of Local and Regional Governments

Under the aegis of the “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign, UCLG, along with UNISDR, UN-Habitat, ICLEI and other stakeholders, celebrated the Summit of Local and Regional Governments on 23 May.

Co-President Roland Ries, accompanied by the Mexican host authorities, emphasized during the Opening of the Summit that local governments are crucial for disaster risk reduction as the world’s population is increasingly urban. The Mayor recalled the great responsibility put on UCLG by the Sendai Framework to help local and regional governments to implement the Framework and to strengthen their capacities to elaborate strategies that integrate disaster risk, climate change, resilience and development. He stressed the work of the UCLG Taskforce on Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises on coordination of responses to crises in territories, and praised the establishment of the UCLG Policy Council on Safer, Resilient and Sustainable Cities as an initiative to leverage the essential linkage among climate change and resilience at local level.

At the Opening of the Summit, Roland Glasser, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, pointed out the need to move from commitment to action, as theme of this Global Platform’s edition, and called to ensure the coherence and integration of global agendas at local level. Through a video message, Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, referred to the key role of cities by highlighting the contribution of planned urbanization and public space policy to disaster risk reduction.

Further, UCLG and ICLEI facilitated a session of the Summit on “Coherence in addressing and implementing the 2030 development agendas at local level”. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina (Mauritania) and Champion of the “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign, in the face of the impossibility to accurately foresee disasters, advocated for political and fiscal decentralization to provide resources and self-government to local governments as the primary representatives in charge of ensuring disaster risk reduction at local level. Nathalie Zaarour, representing the Council of Ministers in Lebanon, presented the ongoing work of the national government with local authorities in addressing risk, with more than 300 municipalities participating in this campaign. Amadora (Portugal) and Aqaba (Jordan) stressed the importance of building local partnership coalition to build local strategies for disaster risk reduction.

The wealth of the discussions of the Summit was captured in the Local and Regional Government Declaration. This document informed the Global Platform's Chair Summary that will be presented to the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a contribution to the 2017 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), to be held in New York in July. 

Following the Opening Ceremony of the Global Platform, Néstor Padrón, representative of the Government of Canary Islands (Spain), read an official statement presenting the Local and Regional Government Declaration to the Member States and international community gathered in the forum.

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