Remarks by Anders Pedersen on the assessment of the "Disaster Risk Management system" in Jordan

Remarks by the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Anders Pedersen on the Assessment of the Disaster Risk Management system in Jordan.

I am pleased to warmly welcome all of you to this validation workshop of the main findings and recommendations of the assessment of the DRM system in Jordan, that was facilitated by the UN System and the IFRC through the CADRI Partnership.

I take this opportunity to welcome back the CADRI Partnership Team to Amman (Sophie Baranes, CADRI Partnership Secretariat Geneva; Wirya Khim, CADRI Partnership / FAO Geneva; Maguette Ndiaye CADRI Geneva / UNICEF).

I wish to also extend our sincere appreciation to the national authorities, more specifically to the National Centre for Security and Crises Management and the Jordan Civil Defense for their leadership in organizing this validation, since the early stages of preparation.

IMPACTS OF NATURAL AND MAN-MADE DISASTERS

Now, more than ever, our work on disaster risk-reduction and resilience-building has become more important.

According to a 2018 study (Swiss Reinsurance Company) in 2017, the world witnessed natural and man-made disasters with economic losses costing about USD 337 billion. This is double that of 2016 and second highest on record.

Disasters are expected to continue to contribute to rising humanitarian needs and have become a leading cause of displacement.

Reducing disaster risk, by preventing the exposure of people and assets to natural, biological and technological hazards, and by getting better ready to respond when disaster occur, is key to achieve the SDGs.

While we strive to mobilize funding for development, the risk of losing these development gains to disasters is growing. Destruction of assets and livelihoods in disasters set back hard-won development gains and worsen poverty, often for extended periods of years.

Reducing disaster risk is not a stand-alone agenda. It is part of our daily work to strengthen social service delivery, to invest in resilient infrastructure (roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, ICT), to design primary, secondary and tertiary education /school curriculum to build a culture of disaster resilience, to protect our cultural heritage against the risk of destruction, to enhance our epidemics surveillance systems.

Our daily work, in support of the implementation of Jordan 2025 and in support of the implementation of the Jordan Response Plan, must be geared towards reducing exposure and vulnerability to disaster risk.

This is why the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris agreement on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda are one unified agenda for Sustainable Development.

This requires all of us to adopt new ways of working, across sectors, across institutional boundaries and across the humanitarian and development realms, and using risk and vulnerability information to inform our day to day programming.

CADRI PARTNERSHIP ADDED VALUE IN JORDAN CONTEXT

The CADRI Partnership is meant to create this momentum: to bring sectors and partners together to identify priority investment that will enhance our capacities to manage and reduce disaster risks across various sectors, from infrastructure to cultural heritage, from health to WASH.

The capacity assessment report of the Disaster Risk Management System in Jordan, that we are here to review and validate today, is the outcome of a comprehensive review of national and local capacities to manage disaster risk across sectors.

It was facilitated by a large team of UN, IFRC, Red Crescent and Government experts, using a tested methodology.

It is our expectation (hope?) that the recommendations identified in this assessment will:

1) increase awareness on disaster risk management across sectors (sector ministries), and

2) inform institutional, policy change and allocation of domestic resources and financing to disaster risk management in key sectors.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress that many, if not most, of the recommendations contained in this report do not bear a cost. It is not about additional financing for DRR; it is about using existing financing for health, education, infrastructure, differently.

URGE SUPPORT FOR PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS

I would like to stress a number of recommendations that are identified in this report for your consideration during those two days:

  1. Making information on vulnerability and risk available to decision makers.

It is not the lack of data and information on risk and vulnerability that is the problem. All ministries, all partners collect data and produce information on vulnerability, on exposure to various hazards at national or local level.

It is the lack of access to risk information that hinders disaster risk management.

A wealth of risk information exist across sectors but is not accessible to decision makers at national and local level, to private sector investors, to communities.

An integrated disaster risk information system, centralizing hazard, exposure and vulnerability information produced by various sectors, actors (development and humanitarian), would be a tremendous progress.

There are, in this respect, promising initiatives with NCSCM and with MOPIC in partnership with the Royal Jordanian Geographic Center, that need to be supported.

Open access to risk information is in line with the Open Government Partnership Initiative coordinated by MOPIC to strengthen the legislative framework governing access to information.

  1. Secondly documenting the cumulated cost of repeated small scale disasters across socio-economic and environmental sectors is key to build awareness of decision makers and communities. When we know how much we lose to disasters, we are more inclined to take action.

  2. Communities must be empowered to manage local risk.

Risk are localized. Community based DRR is proven to be the most effective way to prevent disasters, and prepare for disasters that cannot be avoided.

We can work to empower communities to have a more people-centered Disaster Risk Management System.

For that, we can capitalize on the next stage of the decentralization reform with the focus on community participation in decision making and planning, which is an opportunity to better reflect community demands and roles in DRM.

The UN System, working closely with the Jordan Red Crescent, must stand ready to support such processes of community empowerment.

Finally our risk and vulnerability analysis work, our disaster management system, our contingency and response plans must take into account the differentiated needs and demands of groups with vulnerabilities, i.e. vulnerable women and children; disabled, migrants and refugees, who are more likely to be at risk of disaster, but who can also play a role in prevention and preparedness.

Let me end by commending government leadership throughout the capacity assessment and now the validation and prioritization process.

I also would like to commend the UN Country Team as a whole for their contribution to this effort, including FAO, IOM, OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNESCO, UN Women and WHO, who have come together in this exercise. I am really very proud and fortunate to have a cohesive and committed UN team in Jordan. Rest assured of the continuing commitment of the UN Country Team to the strong partnership with the government of Jordan in following-up and integrating DRR recommendations into the country’s future planning and interventions.

Speech by
Author
Anders Pedersen
UN Resident Coordinator and
Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan
RCO
RC Pederson
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund