From Commitment to Action: Statement by Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec at the fifth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Excellency, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;

On behalf of UN Women, I would like to thank the Government of Mexico and UNISDR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) for hosting this important conference. 

Women and girls, especially those living in poverty, are impacted differently by disasters. For example, disaster mortality amongst women is significantly higher than that of men.  70 per cent of victims of the 2009 tsunami in Tonga and Samoa were female, while 96 per cent of the victims of the 2014 Solomon Islands floods were women and children. 

This differential exposure is founded in unequal access to information, resources, and opportunities.  It decreases their resilience and that of their communities. 

Women worldwide are largely excluded from decision-making on reducing disaster risk, yet without their experience and knowledge, we will not be able to achieve the promise of Sendai.  This exclusion, along with limited capacities and expertise, contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) assessments and plans that are less effective.

Women’s actual and potential contributions to DRR, their leadership as first responders, and their centrality in community resilience, remain unleveraged.  Investing in women’s significant contributions to economies, as farmers, workers, business owners, or unpaid care workers, will accelerate their own recovery and that of their communities. 

Placing the needs, capacities, participation and leadership of women and their organizations at the center of DRR efforts, plans and budgets is a priority to successfully implement the Sendai Framework.

To this end, UN Women, IFRC and UNISDR have joined forces.  Our “Global Programme in Support of a Gender-Responsive Sendai Framework implementation: Addressing the Gender Inequality of Risk and Promoting Community Resilience to Natural Hazards in a Changing Climate” provides a mechanism to support countries in the fulfillment of gender commitments under the Sendai Framework and amplify the voices of women in DRR.

Through this Programme, our ambition, together with our partners, is to support Member States in ensuring that women are a central part of disaster risk reduction. 

Thank you.

Note: Official statements delivered at the Global Forum is available at http://www.unisdr.org/conferences/2017/globalplatform/en/programme/statements

Related link: Editorial spotlight: What does gender have to do with reducing and addressing disaster risk?