GA: Sendai Framework – Risk Governance

Statement by Sate Secretary Hans-Petter Aasen at the High-Level Meeting on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 19 May 2023.

Thank you, chair.

Let me begin with thanking the panelists for setting the scene for the discussion today with their comprehensive introductions.

Moving from managing disasters to managing risks is key in reducing the human, social and economic costs of disasters. We must be better on preventing disasters from happening. I would like to make three points:

First, the use of data, like weather data, is important to reduce, adapt and manage risks. Data is key in building effective systems for early warning and early action, which can prevent hazards to turn to disasters. This is why Norway is supporting the Secretary-General’s Early warning for all Initiative through contributions to the UN Systematic Observations Financing Facility.

Second, managing risks also means building resilient societies. The destruction of infrastructure due to disasters can be prevented. Investing in climate-resilient infrastructure yields substantial benefits. The World Bank has estimated that every US dollar spent on disaster risk reduction in the form of investment in resilient infrastructure, saves 4 US dollars in post-disaster reconstruction costs.

Third, it is important that we take a whole of government and all-of -society approach to managing risks and building resilience. We must enable the local level, and we need to include civil society in our efforts. I would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring a gender perspective and a rights-based approach in all our efforts.

I would like to draw on a couple of examples from my own country.

In Norway we have established a Bank of knowledge. This is an information management system for national hazards and disaster risks. The aim is to compile and systematize data to give us a better understanding of disaster risk, and improve the quality of our local and regional risk- and vulnerability assessments.

Furthermore, we see legislation as a key instrument to strengthen disaster resilience at all levels. In Norway, the Planning and Building Act, imposes municipalities to carry out risk and vulnerability assessments when developing new areas.

I want to thank the organizers for bringing this important topic on the agenda. It is truly an area where international and regional cooperation is needed.

Thank you.