Managing risk: from the United Nations to local-level realities: or vice versa
Summary, in English
The outcomes of the Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction show that making cities and rural areas safe from disasters and climate change impacts and enhancing citizens' resilience is everybody's business and part of the larger sustainability challenge. Under the theme Resilient People, Resilient Planet', the session took place on 19-23 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. This paper underlines the significance of some of its outcomes, including the role of civil society and science in risk reduction and adaptation planning, and questions the common understanding that adaptation needs and benefits are local while mitigation needs and benefits are global. Although initially criticized for excluding civil society perspectives, the Fourth Session of the Global Platform was ultimately successful in recognizing the importance of including all communities and the significance of personal responsibility and behavioural change in order to achieve a more integrated risk governance system. This is also a significant step towards the realization that wealth in high-income countries can drive risk in low-income countries, and that adaptation is likely to have global feedback links, which have not yet been explored. It is hoped that the further regional consultation processes associated with the post-2015 development of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA 2) will build on these outcomes to create concrete action plans, which are based on local-level realities and science that is appropriately linked to them. In this context, systems thinking, inter-disciplinary research and trans-disciplinary collaborations are crucial for narrowing the persistent gap between local-level realities, science and policy.