New global deal leaves poor countries unprepared for future disasters

NGO News Report :: A new international agreement reached by world leaders today on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, is being heavily criticized by aid agencies, including ActionAid, who say rich countries are shirking their responsibility to respond to the growing impact of climate change.

At the same time as the conference has been taking place, Cyclone Pam has devastated Vanuatu, decimating entire villages and leaving at least 47% of the country’s population affected.

5 days UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction came to an end on 18 March 2015 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. ActionAid Bangladesh has participated in the conference with strong voices about the perspectives of countries like Bangladesh.

The agreement announced this morning falls short of what is required for the international community to prepare adequately for disasters, which will increase in scale and frequency in the next decade as a result of climate change. Rich countries have avoided making the commitments required to ensure that the world’s populations, particularly those in poor countries who are most vulnerable to climate-related disasters are prepared, spokespeople from ActionAid said today.

Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh said, “Without adequate investment to eradicate poverty and reduce risks, we will see women disproportionately impacted by disasters. Promoting women’s leadership is critical for achieving this. Violence against women and girls will continue to rise significantly when disasters strike, and women’s income and food security will be affected”

“Rich nations have pushed making financial commitments to reduce disaster risk to a separate round of financing negotiations later in the year. How far down the road poor nations have to go to be risk secured? Without greater commitments on financing, the results for vulnerable communities in poor countries will be catastrophic” added Farah Kabir

Harjeet Singh, ActionAid International Policy Manager on Climate Change, said this late evening, “Seven global targets agreed in the new disaster risk deal is a step forward. However, weak targets without numbers and no commitment to finance make them meaningless for those most vulnerable in developing countries.

“Over the past four days in Sendai, we have seen rich nations gradually erode commitments to deliver money to developing countries to prepare for and respond to increasing disasters and climate change impacts”, Said Harjeet.

This World Conference has been attended by over 180 of the world’s governments has provided an opportunity for world leaders to agree upon an international strategy for dealing with disasters over the next fifteen years.

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