PM addresses 3rd Meet of G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group

July 25: The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Shri Pramod Kumar Mishra addressed the Third Meeting of the G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group in Chennai today. 

The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister recalled meeting for the first time in Gandhinagar in March this year and pointed out the unprecedented climate change-related disasters that have occurred since then. He gave examples of massive heat waves gripping the entire northern hemisphere, forest fires in Canada and the haze that followed which affected cities in various parts of North America, and major cyclonic activities on India’s east and west coasts. The Principal Secretary also touched upon Delhi experiencing its worst flood in 45 years.

The Principal Secretary emphasized that the impacts of climate change-related disasters are enormous and interconnected in nature and are already knocking on our doors. Noting the challenges faced by the world and the impact of climate change affecting everyone across the planet, the Principal Secretary underlined the importance of the G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group. Although the group has made a lot of progress and generated good momentum, the Principal Secretary stressed matching the ambitions with the scale of problems faced by the world. He underlined that the time for incremental change has now passed and the stage is set for the transformation of local, national and global systems for preventing the creation of new disaster risks and effectively managing the existing ones. 

Highlighting the need for the convergence of disparate national and global efforts to maximize their collective impact, the Principal Secretary emphasized adopting a problem-solving approach instead of fragmented efforts driven by narrow institutional perspectives. He appreciated the UN Secretary General’s “Early Warning For All” initiative. He informed that  G20 has identified “Early Warning and Early Action” as one of the five priorities and putting its full weight behind it.

In the area of financing disaster risk reduction, the Principal Secretary emphasized pursuing structured mechanisms at all levels for financing all aspects of disaster risk reduction. In India over the last few years, the Principal Secretary said that financing for disaster risk reduction has been completely transformed and a predictable mechanism is in place for financing not just disaster response but also disaster mitigation, preparedness and recovery. “Can we have analogous arrangements at the global level as well?”, the Principal Secretary asked. He stressed the need for greater convergence between various streams of financing available for disaster risk reduction. He said that Climate Finance has to be an integral part of financing for disaster risk reduction. The Principal Secretary stressed addressing the challenge of mobilizing private finance for disaster risk reduction needs. Putting out a question, Shri Mishra said, “What kind of enabling environment should the governments create to attract private finance into disaster risk reduction? How can G20 generate momentum around this area and ensure that private investment in disaster risk reduction is not only an expression of corporate social responsibility but part of the core business of firms?”

The Principal Secretary highlighted the benefits of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure established a few years ago in partnerships with a number of G20 nations, the UN and others. Speaking about the Coalition’s work, the Principal Secretary said that it informs the countries including small island developing nations about making better risk assessments and metrics to upgrade their standards while making more risk-informed investments in infrastructure development. He emphasized working towards scaling up these ideas and thinking beyond pilots while designing the initiatives. He underlined the need to institutionalize some of the good practices of ‘Building Back Better’ after disasters and adopt ‘preparedness for recovery’ underpinned by financial arrangements, institutional mechanisms and capacities exactly like ‘preparedness for response’.

The Principal Secretary expressed satisfaction with the significant progress on the deliverables in all the five priorities pursued by the Working Group. Speaking about the zero draft of the Communique which will be discussed over the next few days, Shri Mishra informed that it puts forward a very clear and strategic agenda on Disaster Risk Reduction for the G20 nations. He expressed confidence that the spirit of convergence, consensus, and co-creation that has permeated the deliberations of this Working Group over the last four months will prevail over the next three days and beyond. 

The Principal Secretary expressed gratitude for the sustained support received from the knowledge partners in this endeavour and especially appreciated the personal engagement of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Ms Mami Mizutori in supporting the work of this group. He expressed delight with the engagement of the TROIKA in shaping the agenda of this Working Group. He underlined that India has forwarded the agenda upon the foundations laid by earlier presidencies including Indonesia, Japan and Mexico and also expressed optimism in Brazil taking it forward. The Principal Secretary welcomed Secretary Wolnei from Brazil to the meeting and also assured India’s full support and engagement moving forward.

During the last eight months of India’s G20 Presidency, the Principal Secretary said that the whole nation has participated very enthusiastically and 177 meetings have been held in 56 locations across the country so far. He highlighted the active participation of delegates in the deliberations along with getting a glimpse of India’s social, cultural and natural variety. “Much progress has been made in the substantive aspects of the G20 agenda.  I am sure the Summit Meeting which will be held in one and a half months’ time will be a landmark event.  The contribution of all of you to this outcome will be significant”, the Principal Secretary concluded. 

Ms Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General; Shri Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa; Members of G20 as well as guest countries; Officials from International Organisations; Shri Kamal Kishore, Chair of the Working Group; Officials from National Disaster Management Authority, National Disaster Management Institute, and Ministry of Home Affairs were among those present on the occasion.

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