Durban - A BRICS technical meeting on disaster management in Durban yesterday resolved that a plan of action was needed for all the countries involved to deal with the potential devastating impact of climate change on their citizens.
The Joint Task Force meeting themed “Strengthening post-pandemic socio-economic recovery in the BRICS countries" brought together role-players from the respective countries to discuss collaboration to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Speakers noted last year’s devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal where at least 435 people died across the province and several thousand homes and key infrastructure were damaged or destroyed.
Mbulelo Tshangana, the director-general of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), said countries were beset with widespread adverse effects and related losses and damage to nature and people due to natural climate variability, human-induced climate change, and more frequent and intense extreme events.
“Covid-19 is a stark reminder that any recovery that fails to address the causes of our present vulnerabilities condemns us to more acute crises in the future, that may be difficult to bounce back from.
“To this effect and particularly at a global level, the recognition and acceleration of efforts towards mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into planning across all sectors is an absolute necessity,” Tshangana said.
He said reducing the risks of disasters cannot be divided into categories that were only assigned to limited sectors such health authorities, disaster management agencies or early warning centres.
Dr Elias Sithole, the head of the country’s National Disaster Management Centre, said that past Joint Task Force meetings agreed to continue working towards taking forward the commitments of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (SFDRR), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Our engagements today and those of our ministers that will take place tomorrow demonstrate that our relationships, built on a strong foundation of mutual trust and respect, are not only growing but may soon be expanded to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Through these expanding multilateral engagements we are truly building a world that is going to be sustainable, safer and better for us all.”
Yuan Yi, China's deputy director-general from the Department of Risk Monitoring and Integrated Disaster Reduction, said: “It is necessary for all the countries to work together, find solutions and contribute to global disaster reduction.”
Mrinalini Shrivastava, the director of India’s National Disaster Management Authority, said Covid-19 exposed the world to flaws in delivering social services and had an impact on people’s survival.
“In the wake of the pandemic, India has improved co-operation and enhanced the capacity of its disaster management capabilities. We all need disaster management platforms that work towards making all cities risk resilient,” Shrivastava said.
Vladimir Solovev, Russia’s director of the International Co-operation Department, said the global community faced the risk of natural and man-made disasters.
“Next year, new parties will join BRICS and this will help to develop and share ideas to prioritise human life in the face of rapid climate change,” he said.