Hi Ben, thank you for your comments and insight. I had meant to try to catch up with you during the WCDRR, as I enjoy your emails/information and wanted to say Hi. Are you still in Sendai? I have an early afternoon flight out of Sendai for Tokyo and then a night flight to Sydney.
Thanks for sharing the information below, travel safely and if you are ever in Sydney, please let me know.
From: Natural hazards and disasters [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ben Wisner
Sent: Thursday, 19 March 2015 7:11 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Naked, retrograde & wordy -- Sendai Framework of Action
I was thinking of the folktale about the little boy who was the first one to announce that the emperor was wearing no clothes as the royal parade trooped by. The silly emperor had been fooled by a crafty tailor who claimed to weave a magic fabric. All the courtiers felt they had to agree how beautiful it was. However, since Japan still has an emperor and was host of the Sendai WCDR, I was wanted to avoid confusion and possible offense. In fact, the host, Japan, had to come to the rescue of the totally deadlocked official negotiations, take over and issue the SFA and political declare. Japan is so far the only country to pledge money toward implementation of the SFA, USD 4 billion.
This bodes ill for the next two big conferences: on climate change and on sustainable development goals.
Many of the 6,500 people present must be fully aware of how intellectually and politically bankrupt the UNISDR is and how stupidly short sighted many of the national delegates. Over the past year the UNISDR has overseen a process that has successively weakened and weakened the draft successor to the HFA. Whereas UNISDR's own "Global Assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction 2015" clearly documents links among risk-creating investment decisions, climate change, maldevelopment, misuse of power and displacement of people, none of this valuable, evidence-based research has informed the SFA. While awarding Allan Lavell the Sasakawa prize, UNISDR ignores his research that contributed to GAR 2015.
Actual percentages have been removed from the agreed targets, non-binding as were those of the HFA, but even more prone to manipulation. You may want to see my blog entitled 'Lies, Dammed Lies and Statistics' on the home page of the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR) http://www.globalnetwork-dr.org/ . You'll also find other comments there by GNDR members.
SFA is reveals naked national elite economic power at work. It is also retrograde, a step backwards: weaker than the HFA. It is also wordy: filled with good words. The WHO is happy that there are 30 or 40 references to health in the SFA but only a few in the 2005 HFA. Women, children, people living with disabilities are mentioned. Oh, these important and evocative words! Yet there is NOTHING in the targets that mentions special attention to be given to marginal and oppressed groups, NOTHING that reflects evidence over ten years (and more) that local governments need resources in order to partner effectively with communities.
The best that can be said is that civil society now must fully face the fact that only popular demands and protests will shift national governments.
Rather than trumpet a 'leap forward', the WCDR secretariat should have apologised on the final day, bowing deeply to the audience and the world in the manner of Japanese officials who apologised for the melt down at Fukushima Daiichi. In this manner UNISDR would have preserved a shred of dignity.
Dr. Ben Wisner
Aon-Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre, University College London, UK & Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania & Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, USA
"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."