Press releases, 26.05.2017

Natural disasters and climate-related risks threaten to reverse hard-won gains in development. These and other challenges were the focal point of the fifth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which took place from 22 to 26 May 2017 in Cancún, Mexico. At the conference, Switzerland appealed for closer cooperation in the fields of disaster risk reduction, climate change and development cooperation.

Members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit during a practical workshop with Haitian masons
Swiss know-how supports disaster prevention. Haitian masons at a workshop. SDC

The number of people displaced as a result of natural disasters has increased significantly in recent years. Rising temperatures related to climate change, rapid population growth, unplanned urbanisation and environmental destruction are threatening hard-won gains in development. Development cannot be sustainable, however, without comprehensive measures in the area of disaster risk reduction and prevention. 

These challenges were the focal point of the Fifth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which took place from 22 to 26 May 2017 in Cancún, Mexico. More than 5,000 people took part in the event, including heads of state and government, international organisations and representatives of academia, civil society and the private sector.

The conference, which was jointly organised by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and host-country Mexico, was the first opportunity to review progress at the global level in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. The review is possible thanks to a series of indicators that were defined last year in Geneva with the participation of Swiss experts. 

Switzerland has broad experience in dealing with natural disasters. As a densely populated mountainous country, it has worked actively in this field for centuries and has developed an integrated, sustainable approach that, together with concrete protection measures, takes into account natural hazards in spatial planning and construction work, as well as precise forecasting and early-warning systems and emergency planning. The international exchange within the framework of the Global Platform enables Switzerland both to share its experience in integrated risk management with other countries and to gather new ideas and gain new impetus in risk management.

In Cancún, Switzerland advocated for recognition of the need for closer cooperation in the fields of disaster prevention, climate change and development cooperation and for the actors in these areas to work more closely together. This is why consistent implementation of the Sendai Framework, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement on climate change are major concerns for Switzerland.  It promotes the high-level political forum on sustainable development as an excellent platform for dialogue in this respect.  For Switzerland, it is also important to strengthen the capacities of local communities in the field of disaster risk reduction, an aspect which it considers to be essential in achieving these global objectives.  

As Co-chair of the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR), the centre of competence of the World Bank on disaster risk reduction, Switzerland lobbied among international donors in Cancún for more investment in countering climate-related risks in developing countries and for cities to develop greater resilience to the effects of natural disasters.

The Swiss delegation comprised representatives from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Federal Office for Civil Protection, the Federal Office for the Environment, Swiss NGOs and the private sector.

The 2019 Global Platform will take place in Switzerland.

Further information:

Resilience is key
Disaster risk reduction, an essential requirement for sustainable development

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