IRDR’s R. Klein addresses Royal Society of London’s post-Sendai meeting

As part of its PolicyLab program, on Wednesday 24 June, the Royal Society London brought together a panel of international experts that included Ms. Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and IRDR’s Executive Director, Dr. Rüdiger Klein to explore the topic, “From agreements to action: what next for the new global framework on disasters?” The Royal Society’s PolicyLab meetings are regular events which bring together policymakers and scientists to discuss current topics in science policy.

The lively public discussion explored what the new Sendai framework (SFDRR) actually says, how it can be financed and implemented, what it means for science, and what bearing it will have on the forthcoming agreement on Sustainable Development Goals, the new climate change agreement, and the Financing for Development decisions. Klein stressed the importance of close cooperation between academic and non-academic stakeholders in working towards meaningful implementation of the intergovernmental frameworks.

The Policy Lab was the first of a series of follow-up meetings on the role of science and technology as stipulated in the 3rd World Conference on DRR. The Royal Society of London convened an expert workshop in London on 24-25 June 2015 under the title “Science and the Sendai Framework”. The workshop, co-chaired by Margareta Wahlström and Geoffrey Boulton, heard about the expectations, under the Framework, for the STI sector. A panel with Mark Pelling, IRDR’s R. Klein, ODI’s Tom Mitchell, and others reported on early signals from the scientific communities reacting to the Framework and placed Sendai in the wider context of the SDG and CCA agendas.

The elements of the 4+2 formula for implementing Sendai, as defined by the Science and Technology Major Group was presented by Julie Calkins from UKCDS and formed the basis for the breakout sessions:

  • assessment of current state of scientific knowledge on disaster risks and resilience;
  • synthesis of scientific evidence in a timely and accessible manner;
  • scientific advice to decision-makers;
  • monitoring and review that ensures that scientific data and information can support and be used in monitoring progress towards DRR and resilience building.

These 4 elements are underpinned by;

  • enhanced efforts in communication and engagement of policy-makers and stakeholders;
  • stronger involvement of scientists in policy processes and capacity building to ensure that all countries can have access and ability to effectively use scientific information.

Reflecting on the outcome of the break-out sessions, on day 2, various avenues were discussed to further strengthen the role of S&T in the implementation of Sendai, including strong participation of S&T partnerships like IRDR in the upcoming UNISDR S&T conference to be held in Geneva January 27-29th 2016.

Following the RSL event, UKCDS convened a meeting more specifically targeting the UK’s role in science for international disaster risk reduction on the 25 June. Participants included delegates from government departments and science bodies, research councils and funders, NGOs, DRR researchers and select international stakeholders, such as IRDR and members of the IRDR family (ICoE REaL).