Reducing disaster management risks
Headlines this year have brought a series of bad news across the world concerning climate crisis and extreme weather events that are occurring more frequently than ever with greater intensity.
- Floods in China, destructive wildfires in Europe and Hawaii, and July marking the hottest month ever recorded have showcased the harshness of the climate change.
- In 2022, India witnessed a series of disasters and extreme weather events nearly every day.
GS-03 (Disaster Management)
- Climate change
- The International Energy Agency (IEA)
- Intergovernmental panel on Climate change (IPCC)
Explain how International cooperation and adaptation strategies can mitigate challenges concerning the present climate change. (150 words)
Dimensions of the Article:
- The current status of preparedness
- Positive Reforms and International Engagement
- Transforming Our Approach
The Current status of preparedness:
- The SDGs remain as the most reliable roadmap towards achieving peace and prosperity. And alongside these are the commitments made in Paris to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius and the Sendai Framework for Disaster risk reduction.
- The COVID-19 crisis not only laid bare our vulnerability to risks but also fostered new modes of collaboration, often involving digital innovations such as computer modeling and India’s CoWIN digital vaccine system.
- All 28 states have recently formulated their disaster management plans, leading to a remarkable decline in mortality from extreme weather events.
- India’s comprehensive early warning system for cyclones covers its entire coastline, resulting in a 90% reduction in cyclone-related deaths over the past 15 years.
- At the local level, heatwave action plans have been instrumental in reducing heatwave-related fatalities by over 90%.
- The recent zero death toll from Cyclone Biparjoy in Gujarat serves as a testament to the effectiveness of preparedness, response, and early warning systems.
- In fact, amidst the disaster, there were heartening reports of hundreds of babies being safely delivered in government-organized hospitals and shelters before the cyclone hit.
Positive Reforms and International Engagement:
- The 15th Finance Commission in India introduced substantial reforms in disaster risk financing, allocating a total of $28.6 billion at both national and state levels over a five-year period. This has provided ample resources for disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and capacity development.
- On the global stage, India is actively championing disaster resilience and sustainability, notably through the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, a worldwide partnership focused on enhancing infrastructure resilience.
- India’s National Disaster Response Force not only responds to domestic disasters but is also frequently deployed to assist in disaster-stricken areas worldwide.
- Significantly, India’s current G20 presidency established the first-ever work stream dedicated to disaster risk reduction. The Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group aligns with the SDGs and reflects many of our shared priorities.
Transforming Our Approach:
- Disaster risk must become an integral part of our decision-making process, affecting how we construct, invest, and live. One of the most cost-effective methods for risk reduction is the implementation of early warning systems for everyone, an initiative spearheaded by the UN with India’s support.
- Just a 24-hour warning about an impending storm can result in a 30% reduction in damage. Nevertheless, over a third of the world’s population, primarily in least developed countries and Small Island Developing States, still lack access to such systems.
- The ultimate goal is to establish a global multi-risk warning system, encompassing all types of hazards, whether biological, tectonic, or technological.
- Improving global data capabilities is crucial for predicting and responding to the risks we face. India’s G20 presidency is making commendable progress in terms of knowledge sharing, joint data infrastructure, and risk analysis.
- Lastly, we must ensure that no one is left behind in our efforts. International cooperation in disaster prevention, response, and recovery, particularly for Global South nations, should be strengthened.
The G20 summit and the outcomes of the Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group present an opportunity to envision a future where we are well-prepared to confront disaster risks. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres rightly pointed out, “Extreme weather events will happen. But they do not need to become deadly disasters.”
The world faces an intersection of crises, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the looming climate crisis. These challenges require immediate and coordinated action. India, with its commitment to disaster risk reduction, resilience building, and international cooperation, serves as a beacon of hope in this endeavor. The solutions are at hand, but their implementation requires global solidarity and an unwavering commitment to a safer, more resilient future. Extreme weather events need not translate into deadly disasters if we act decisively and inclusively.