Statement at Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Sendai, 16 March 2015

'If we can manage to implement even just a portion of what we have already agreed on, we should have achieved remarkable improvement in DRR when we meet again for the Fourth UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2030', said State Secretary Hans Brattskar in his statement at theĀ conference.

Check against delivery

Thank you Madam Chair,

I would like to start by congratulating UNISDR and our host, Japan, on a truly impressive event. The hospitality we have been met with since arriving has been wonderful.

Let me at this point also express my heartfelt sympathy with the Government and people of Vanuatu in their endeavours to overcome the effects of cyclone Pam. This tragic incident reminds us of the importance of the work we are doing here and should be an impetus for us all to finish the Conference with a strong document.

It is now ten years since the adoption of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the HFA. We are now negotiating an updated framework for dealing with the threats of disaster. We have to build on achieved results, but expand the framework to take into account new challenges that we jointly are facing.

We can, of course, never completely avoiding natural disasters, but there are ways of making countries and communities more resilient and better prepared to tackle the effects of such events.

In the negotiations on the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, often called HFA2, Norway has prioritized the following key areas:

First of all, Norway believes that the HFA2 should be a simple and operational framework that can guide member states in implementing a "hands on" approach to DRR. It should be tailored not for the diplomats or UN-staff, but be a tool for preparedness decisions on the ground.

Secondly, the HFA2 should promote the inclusion of DRR as an integral part of public policy and the development agenda. DRR should be reflected in the work of all ministries, and equally important, in all local planning processes. The focus of the post-2015 DRR framework should be to reduce existing risk, and avoid building new risk.

Thirdly, the framework should include measurable goals and concrete targets over an agreed time-span, and build on lessons from the last decade on implementing the HFA. In order to track the progress in reaching vulnerable groups, we also need indicators that are disaggregated at a level where at least age, gender and disability can be measured.

Fourthly, decision-making needs to be risk-informed. Every day, numerous decisions are made that will affect future risk in local communities, by governments, private businesses and by individuals. There is a need for scientific as well as local and traditional knowledge, to be made available for all decision-makers. This includes earth observations, comprehensive all risk assessments at the local level, as well as knowledge on climate change. The Global Framework for Climate Services is an example of a useful tool to promote the use of reliable climate and weather information and translating it into adapted end-user information.

I would here also like to highlight the importance of integrating DDR as part of educational systems.

As a fifth point I would like underline that certain groups are disproportionately impacted by disasters. These includes persons with disabilities, children, the elderly, displaced persons, migrants, the economically poor children, and in many societies, women and ethnic minorities. It is therefore essential that DRR strategies in general, and the HFA2 process in particular, give sufficient attention to the particular needs and vulnerabilities of these groups, and that all these groups are actively consulted. They can contribute, if only given the chance.

Then, a small reminder, to us all. It is outmost importance that the results from this Conference are coherent with what is being negotiated on the other important processes, such as the SDGs, Financing for development and COP 21.

In closing, I would like to remind everyone here that although we still have different views on some issues, we are broadly in agreement on the importance of this process. I therefore hope that we in the next couple of days will be able to negotiate a strong document. If we can manage to implement even just a portion of what we have already agreed on, we should have achieved remarkable improvement in DRR when we meet again for the Fourth UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2030.

Thank you.