Bangkok, Thailand – The increasing intensity and frequency of cyclones, flooding and drought have severely impacted the environment, livelihoods and food security in Asia-Pacific. Extreme weather events and other natural disasters in the region affect more than 163 million people and cause economic losses worth of 23 billion USD each year. Governments and experts in disaster risk reduction from 13 countries gather this week in Bangkok ahead of the Paris UN climate conference to identify ways for enhancing resilience to climate-induced disasters in the region.
“The impact of disasters and climate change is most evident in vulnerable communities that rely on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihood,” says Shane Wright, Executive Director of Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. “For building sustainable development, it is critical to ensure the resilience of these sectors to the changing climate,” Wright adds.
From 26 to 28 November, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center and Oxfam host the Pan-Asian Regional Policy Forum on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction and Integration of Climate Change Adaptation into the Environment, Livelihood and Food Security Sectors. While identifying actions to ensure risk-informed decision making in the Asia-Pacific, the forum also prepares recommendations for the climate change conference in Paris in December.
Livelihoods in Asia are largely dependent on agriculture – particularly on rice farming, fisheries, and livestock. Stakeholders at the forum stress that protecting natural resources from the impacts of climate change and natural disasters is crucial for guaranteeing that these critical resources continue to be available for future generations.
“Only by integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into development planning and governance, can we ensure sustainable development in the region as well as the communities’ ability to bounce back after disasters,” Shane Wright states.
The policy forum builds on the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which aims to substantially reduce disaster risk over the next 15 years. In 2016, governments will translate global commitments into national and local action plans leading to a critical time for a multi-stakeholder dialogue and regional collaboration to build resilience, save lives and protect livelihoods from the impact of natural disasters.