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G20: India pitches for disaster risk financing; calls for robust healthcare system

The second meeting of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group (DRRWG) was inaugurated in Mumbai today. The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, and Kamal Kishore, Chair of the working group and Member Secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). Senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), and the Government of Maharashtra were also present. Notably, Mami Mizutori, the Special Secretary to the Secretary General for the United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction, is among the delegates attending the DRRWG meeting in Mumbai.

Speaking at the inaugural programme, Dr Pawar urged that financing disaster risk reduction is an investment in our future. It is an investment in the safety, health and well-being of our communities, the sustainability of our economies, and the preservation of our environment. She said that governments, international organizations and the private sector need to collaborate and explore new ways to mobilize funding.

The Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare also spoke about the importance of pandemic management and its impact on public health. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for emergency preparedness to be at the core of various development and finance policies. “We need to make sure that our healthcare systems are able to withstand the impact of future disasters”, she said.

Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar further stated that the world has been lagging in achieving the disaster risk reduction targets laid down in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The global economic growth has been commendable in the last 2-3 decades, but funding for reducing the associated disaster risks has been inadequate, she said.

The Minister said that the aftermaths of disasters are marked by loss of lives, destruction of infrastructure, displacement of populations, and a heavy toll on economies. It cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year globally. Therefore, it is not only a moral responsibility but also an economic necessity to invest in disaster risk reduction, she said.

Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that financing disaster risk reduction requires a multi-sector and multi-dimensional approach. It demands robust investment in early warning systems, preparedness measures, resilient infrastructure to withstand disasters and adequate resources for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. The Minister added that the long-term recovery process after a disaster is equally important. Adequate financial resources are required to support reconstruction efforts and revive local economies, this can be achieved by international cooperation and support.

Dr Pawar further stated that the Government of India is utilizing technology and innovation in a big way, Dr Pawar spoke about the advanced forecasting systems and remote sensing technologies available in the country to improve preparedness and response to manage disasters. The government has also launched ambitious initiatives to leverage data analytics, artificial intelligence, and satellite technology, she added. The Minister also said that the recently launched Sachet Early Warning System by Government of India is providing early warning on Pan India basis.

Dr Pawar stated that PM Narendra Modi has emphasized on the importance of “Recognition and Reform” in disaster management so that we recognize the vulnerable areas and reform our efforts to deal in any disaster situation. She also stated that the PM’s belief in the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” has been the guiding force whether it is for providing relief measures under “Operation Dost” when earthquake hit Türkiye or providing Covid 19 vaccines to nearly 98 countries under the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.

The Minister further stated that India is committed to working with the G20 and other international partners to reduce disaster risk and to build a more resilient world. “I believe that by working together, we can build a world that is better prepared for disasters and that is more resilient to their impact”, she said. The Minister also said that G-20 nations have the opportunity to lead the way by delivering on high-level discussions through collaborative international efforts by providing financial support, sharing knowledge and promoting international cooperation on disaster risk reduction.

The dignitaries present on the occasion included Dr Ir Udrekh, Director Disaster Risk Evaluation and Mapping, BNPB, Indonesia; G-20 Chair (India) and Member-Secretary, NDMA Kamal Kishore; Member, NDMA Lt. General (Retd.) Syed Ata Hasnain; Member, NDMA Dr Krishna Swaroop Vatsa; Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Hitesh Kumar Makwana; Additional Secretary, NDMA, Alok Gupta; and Principal secretary for Relief, Government of Maharashtra, Aseem Gupta.

G-20 Chair (India) and Member-Secretary, NDMA Kamal Kishore
Over the course of two days, 122 delegates will participate in discussions on Financing Disaster Risk Reduction. Technical sessions will cover topics such as Financing Early Warning and Early Action, Financing Resilient Infrastructure, building back better, and Ecosystem-Based Approaches and the Role of Community in DRR.

Preceding the two-day meeting, a day-long side event on Financing for Disaster Risk Reduction took place. The National Disaster Management Authority has collaborated with organizations such as UNDRR, UNDP, UNICEF, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, OECD, and the Insu Resilience, during this meeting.

A Round Table with Private Sectors focused on Financing Disaster Risk Reduction, attracting significant attendance. The discussion aimed to understand the challenges faced by the private sector in finding the DRR space lucrative.

During the technical sessions, the G20 countries discussed a roadmap for DRRWG for the next three years. The Indian Presidency believes in instilling ownership among the troika countries and South Africa to carry this initiative forward. The hope is that disaster risk reduction will be mainstreamed in the policy space, and that financing instruments and mechanisms for DRR will help shift the paradigm from disaster response to anticipatory action and risk reduction.

On the margins of the G20 Meeting in Mumbai a photo exhibition was also inaugurated on “Safer Mumbai, Future Ready Mumbai – A photographic portrayal”.

The photo exhibition was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar.
MB Bureau

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