IRDR SC members at New Zealand Symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction

The Government of New Zealand organized on 15-16 June 2015 the “New Zealand Symposium on Disaster Risk Reduction” to review the Sendai Framework for implementation. With more than 300 participants from different sectors attending – among them IRDR SC member S.H.M. Fakhruddin and David Johnston, the director and staff of the IRDR ICoE on Community Resilience* at Massey University – the DRR symposium in Wellington aimed at a whole-of-society approach to DRR.

The four sessions revolved around the 4 SFDRR priority areas (understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and ‘building back better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction). A total of 44 presentations were delivered on key issues and upcoming challenges in each sector: findings and gaps were discussed in each thematic area. Participants agreed that there is a need to further strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take anticipatory action, and integrate the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction plans phase ahead of the disaster.

The Minister for Civil Defence, Hon. Nikki Kaya, mentioned that “the New Zealand framework requires local government to be responsible for planning and providing civil defence emergency management in their own areas. They are supported by regional groupings and the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. A number of reviews of the response to the Canterbury earthquakes have shown that our current framework and underlying principles are sound, and appropriate for the New Zealand context.” Among the substantive measures announced by Minister Kaye was Cabinet approval of changes to the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 aimed at strengthening community recovery from disasters. The amended act includes the establishment of a National Recovery Manager role and the discretion to appoint Local Recovery Managers if required.

* The IRDR ICoE on Community Resilience is working on the integration of the latest scientific insights and community dynamics.