India’s national capital, New Delhi, hosting the Asian Ministerial Conference 2016 has been under a thick layer of fog caused by a sudden spike in air pollution for the past week and this hasn’t gone unmentioned during the sessions that took place on the opening day, 3rd November 2016, highlighting how real the risk of vulnerability is.
This smog is expected to clear up over the next two days. However, stakeholder groups and organisations are looking for commitments that go beyond rhetoric and have timebound commitments in ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural address was punctuated by statements highlighting one basic fact that the world we live in strongly connected and the Asian Region, in particular, has to plan and act through a common framework when it comes to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Time to walk the talk
Mr. Modi was emphatic in highlighting the significance of the ongoing AMCDRR saying it is special because it is the 1st after the adoption of Sendai Framework.
“2015 was a momentous year! Apart from Sendai Framework, the international community adopted two major frameworks to shape future of humanity; they were the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” he added while highlighting that all development sectors must imbibe the principles of DRR.
Expectation for a disability inclusive regional plan
As the inauguration was underway, a small but vocal representation from Disability Stakeholder Group heard every word being spoken with an air expectation to see if the disability agenda has made it through the text of speeches being given.
The group had only the day before hosted a pre-event and was huddled together till late evening in the Ashoka Hotel to fine tune commitments and indicators for inclusion in action plan.
Though disability was not specifically mentioned, inclusion was underlined by Indian Prime Minister who called for wholeheartedly embracing the spirit of Sendai which calls for an all-of-society approach to disaster risk management.
Co-operation and data-driven DRR
Need for disaggregated data at the national and regional levels is one of the prominent themes or cross-cutting focus that has emerged from the half a dozen stakeholder consultations and technical sessions held on the first day of the conference.
Disability-focused terminologies figured in several presentations, including the need for accessible information, communication, and service for DRR planning processes and response infrastructure.
The speakers and questions from the participants highlight the concern over how effective DRR plans would be in absence of data that is critical for risk mapping without which plans for resilience would fail to uphold the principle of leave no one behind.
The Disability Stakeholder Group will be holding a technical session to share and deliberate on the action statement which has been pitched to the drafting committee.