Disaster resilience: Closing the loop


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Last Friday - together with the European Union and the Government of Japan - the World Bank/Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery hosted some of our major humanitarian and development partners in an effort to identify and overcome barriers for coordination and work together in the planning and financing of disaster risk reduction and resilience strategies in critical disaster hotspots around the world.

I have been working on development and disaster resilience for a very long time, and I can tell you from experience that we cannot achieve sustainable development unless we build disaster risk reduction into the day-to-day operations of every development agency. Counter-measures for dealing with extreme events must be at the core of every country’s policy and planning, both rich and poor.

Through this event I finally saw a major step towards agreement between all the most important development and humanitarian partners on the key steps to bring this agenda forward. For example, we agreed that coordinated efforts should be focused on disaster hotspots. Echoing what Bank President Robert Zoellick said in his opening statement, many of the speakers also stressed the crucial role that data plays. Making our data available is one of the crucial steps toward more effective cooperation between humanitarian and development actors in building resilience.

So, Friday’s event was both an achievement and a beginning. It was the first time major multilateral and bilateral donors agreed to take concrete action to “close the loop” and work in a coordinated effort to build disaster resilience. At the same time, it is the beginning of a longer term commitment which we have the responsibility to take forward.
To make sure everyone delivers on this commitment the speakers called for the World Bank to host a regular ‘Resilience Roundtable’ on the sidelines of the World Bank / IMF Annual Meetings to keep stock of progress made.


Saroj Kumar Jha

World Bank Group’s Senior Director for the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group

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james martone
September 28, 2011

Saroj, I was at Friday's event, and was moved by remarks of Japan's Finance Minister about parents still searching for their child's body in rubble of the devastating earthquake there. Another heartbreaking incentive to strive for disaster risk reduction...