The convergence of COVID-19 with natural hazards has created a hitherto unseen complex, compounding, and cascading risk landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. Amidst the pandemic, countries in the region are also being hit by cyclones, floods, landslides, and locust infestations. The capacity of disaster management, including climate adaptation and public health systems together to respond to these converging risks will inform the recovery for COVID-19 and beyond. Noting the convergence, ESCAP member States adopted resolution (77/1) requesting ESCAP to promote “…discussions on the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, including by taking note of the Bangkok Principles for the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework and other relevant regional and subregional frameworks and initiatives…” to strengthen post-COVID-19 resilience and disaster preparedness in the region.
To take this forward, ESCAP will hold the third Disaster Resilience Week from 23-27 August 2021 under the theme “Building back better after COVID-19: addressing cascading risks and systemic gaps for resilient peoples and economies.” Under the Asia Pacific Disaster Resilience Network, ESCAP’s partnership network for disaster resilience, a Regional Learning Platform, as well as a series of thematic sessions will showcase various pathways to build systemic resilience to address multi-hazard risks from both natural and biological hazards will be held.
The Week will also feature the launch of the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2021 as well as a soft launch of the Asia-Pacific Disaster Resilience Network Portal, an online and interactive knowledge portal which aims to support risk-informed policymaking.
The various events will help enrich the deliberations of the ESCAP Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction (CDRR)- the key platform for regional dialogue and intergovernmental collaboration on disaster risk reduction – which will convene its seventh session (CDRR7) during the week from 25-27 August.