Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As vulnerable and food insecure communities around the world are grappling with climate impacts, pandemics, food price inflation and record numbers of displacement, development gains are being reversed at a faster rate than any time before in the 21st Century. Governments are faced with the need to respond to more compound, protracted and cascading crises at a time when the system for international humanitarian aid is reaching its breaking point.
80 per cent of the world’s food insecure people live in regions that are prone to natural hazards and face high levels of environmental degradation. In these settings, disaster risk reduction is a prerequisite for ensuring food and nutrition security and enabling long-term sustainable development. To effectively reduce chronic vulnerability and enable more resilient livelihoods, governments and actors across the humanitarian and development nexus must strengthen cooperation to build more integrated and risk-informed programs that empower countries and communities with the capacities, systems and practices to manage a growing number of risks
Humanitarian actors play a critical role in disaster risk reduction and resilience building activities. As the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the World Food Programme (WFP) supports governments and communities to implement community-based disaster risk reduction projects, to anticipate and mitigate climate hazards before they turn into disasters, and to make innovative risk financing and insurance solutions work for vulnerable communities.
To move from risk to resilience, WFP sees an urgent need for action in the following areas:
Harnessing the capacities of the humanitarian system for disaster risk reduction. At a time when humanitarian needs are outpacing available funding, there is a risk that the most fragile and disaster-prone countries receive insufficient support to reduce disaster risk. Humanitarian actors enable important systems and delivery pathways for community based disaster risk reduction, even in fragile contexts where conventional institutions and mechanisms of development have broken down.
Ensuring a people-centred approach to disaster risk management. As a global society, we are only as resilient as our most vulnerable members. The most sustainable solutions for disaster risk management are anchored in the agency and preferences of people who are exposed to losses and damages in hazard-prone areas. It is critical to put these communities at the centre of programme design, understand the multiple risks they face, and empower them to address the root causes of their vulnerability.
Enhance early warning and anticipatory action to protect the most vulnerable.
As technological progress in hazard forecasting keeps advancing, there is no ethically justified reason to wait until lives are lost until risk mitigation efforts commence. To avert and minimize losses and damages from predictable hazards, institutional systems and capacities must be strengthened to anticipate harmful events and implement preventive action before they turn into life-threatening disasters. This requires risk and vulnerability assessments to be made available, expertise and funding to be pre-allocated, and the different levels of disaster risk governance to operate in an integrated manner.
WFP remains committed to supporting governments and communities to strengthen systems for early warning, emergency preparedness, and climate and disaster risk management – and to harness periods of post-disaster recovery to help build back better. Under its commitment to a world with Zero Hunger, WFP reiterates its support to the Sendai targets and the SDGs they aim to protect. By working together with partners across the nexus of humanitarian and development action, WFP firmly believes that together we can stem the tide of increasing disaster risks and achieve resilient and sustainable development in a COVID-19 transformed world.