Empowerment Needed to Respond and Prevent Disasters

A regional  forum was just taking place in Sendai of Japan where dozens of mayors and local governments in Asia-Pacific region met and shared their ideas and hopes about things to do to address any potential danger in their region: natural disasters.

Boosted by United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) as the coordinator of the Stakeholder Group of Mayors and Local Governments, the discussion among mayor and local government chiefs was fruitful.

As a stakeholder group, their shared discussion becomes strong basis that voice of cities and local government in Asia-Pacific region be captured into wider scene: the international community. This discussion was also a strengthening basis to guarantee that the global framework such as the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) will be adopted in 3WCDRR as well as be implemented in the region.

And here is list of outputs of the group discussion as proposed by Mayors and Local Government Chiefs as their recommendations for Post 2015 Framework:

  • The provision of IEC (information, education, communication): Wider information dissemination, and education and training for mayors and local governments at all level on new Post 2015 Framework for DRR to be able to effectively implement the new framework.
  • It is critical to give much greater empowerment for local governments and down to the smallest administrative units as they are the first line to respond and prevent disasters.
  • Undertake disaster risk assessments and analysis for cities and local governments.
  • It is critical to develop capacity of local governments in following areas:
  • Understanding the new Framework for DRR and ensuring its effective implementation and;
  • Using tools for conducting cities and local governments’ disaster risk and resilience assessment and analysis and planning practical, concrete and measurable actions to address the identified issues and gaps;
  • Training of Trainers (ToT’s) to ensure that knowledge is shared and applied in the national and local level.
  • Education, Training and Capacity development is key for successful implementation of the Post 2015 Framework. Therefore, it is crucial to educate, capacitate and provide conducive environment for key implementers especially women and youth of the Post 2015 Framework at local level.
  • Develop DRR guidebooks, manuals and booklets to aid mayors and local governments.
  • Strengthening of partnerships and greater engagement between all stakeholders, private sector CBO’s, civil society, academia, and vulnerable groups in DRR activities.
  • Partnering and sharing experience, good and best practice among cities and local governments using available national, regional and global platforms and associations of cities and local governments.
  • Need to have cooperation and coordination with neighboring local government units on disaster risk reduction for good collaborative governance.  

During the fruitful discussion, all Mayors and Local Government Chiefs also pointed out their commitments as follows:

  • Less talks and act more; actions speak louder than words;
  • We commit to work on ensuring that local DRR legislation is developed to enable greater empowerment of cities and local governments to engage in implementation of the Post 2015 Framework.
  • We commit to partner with other local government units for good collaborative governance in implementing the Post 2015 Framework.
  • We commit to actively engage all key stakeholders including municipalities, villages, civil society, private sector, academia, training institutions, CBOs, vulnerable groups and wider community in the Framework’s implementation process.
  • We commit to structure the new effective partnership mechanisms and opportunities with other cities and local governments and key stakeholders and partners.
  • We commit to strengthen our own capacities, prioritize and invest in building our capacities to effectively implement the Post 2015 Framework for DRR.
  • We also commit to wider use and engage representatives of mass media, academe, and other relevant stakeholders, to share the information on the Framework’s implementation at local level.
  • We commit to implement the Framework and report on progress to national level to link with the Framework’s monitoring and evaluation.
  • We commit to bring all stakeholders together and organize number of roundtables and information sharing events at local level.
  • We commit to ensure that we link approval of any programs financing after the proof that the proposal is based on the findings of previously conducted risk assessment.
  • We also plan to launch the Asia-Pacific Awards toward Cities and Local Governments Resiliency.