World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

How well equipped are we to face another disaster?

World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Kobe, Japan in the aftermath of Tsunami

18-22 January 2005, Kobe, Japan

The unimaginable scale and magnitude of the loss of life and damages by the Tsunami which hit Asia and some countries in Africa on 26th December has taken over the world by shock. The aftermath of the disaster compel governments, the UN and development organisations world over to admit the fact as to how unprepared and ill-equipped we are to deal with it. Amidst this setting the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction concluded in Kobe, Japan on the 22nd of January 2005 with the vague Hyogo declaration and unclear future plan of action.

167 representatives from UN agencies, government organisations, civil society movements and media attended the conference. The key players of this conference were the UN agencies and the national governments. Emphasis was given to climate change, post tsunami risk reduction, and early warning systems in the discussions held.

The conference was criticised by many development practitioners and lobby groups on its failure to address the Milennium Development Goals(MDGs) and the increasing problems that have come up as a result of globalisation, urbanisation etc. Ben Wisner director of the Feinstein Famine Center at Tufts University who has spent many years with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Peter Walker research fellow in the Crisis States Program, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics and also the Ben field Hazard Research Centre, and number of other development practitioner from all over the world paused 12 questions on the conference's agenda.

ITDGPractical Action, which has over a decade of experience in working with communities affected by disasters highlighted the importance of looking at the linkages and intricate dynamics between three main issues; namely disasters- livelihoods - poverty. The framework 'Disaster Resistant Sustainable Livelihoods' captures these dynamic relationships, and presents a way forward towards achieving improved disaster risk management.

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