On 16 September 2013, the European Parliament’s Development Committee organised an Exchange of Views on Reducing Risks in Post-2015: EU perspectives in Building Resilience of Communities to Disasters featuring Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response and Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Member of the European Parliament, Gay Mitchell (Development Committee).
Taking stock of the natural disasters in Europe and worldwide over the last ten years, Commissioner Georgieva stated that more evidence now exists that DRR is the responsibility of policy makers, to ensure the safety of the citizens and lessen economic losses. The Commissioner insisted on the need to adopt cross-sectoral approaches and welcomed her cooperation with Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on introducing DRR measures in humanitarian aid. On EU financial instruments, the Commissioner stressed the necessity to make the solidarity fund more flexible and to develop more disaster-proof instruments. She also welcomed the release of the Green paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters. “These are the right legislative steps”, Ms, Georgieva stated.
Ms. Wahlström congratulated the European Commission on its commitment to implement high-level standards and DRR strategies. As a priority for the HFA2, Ms. Wahlström insisted on the urgency to address disaster risk reduction and the underlying risk factors to reduce the number of lives lost and economic losses caused by natural hazards, encouraging stronger linkages and cooperation between policies and stakeholders involved in climate change, development and agriculture etc and declared: “It takes all of us to make it happen". Ms. Wahlstrom also encouraged to systematically account for disaster losses and mentioned that one of the challenges in DRR is to understand how risk accumulates in the future. With the 2013 International day for DRR in mind which this year focuses on persons living with disabilities, the focus on the most vulnerable should also remain a high priority in DRR strategies, Ms Wahlström said.
MEP Gay Mitchell congratulated on the work of UNISDR and the European Commission on DRR and wished for greater future collaboration between the three institutions. Mr Mitchell also acknowledged the need for increased coordination between policies and that DRR should be prioritised in development programming. “It is important that DRR and resilience policies are mainstreamed” MEP Mitchell stated.
The video of the Exchange of Views is available here