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By Priyanthi Fernando, live blogging from the Workshop on Implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: Learning from Global and Regional Experiences.
Sorry for this rather blurry reproduction of the GAR 2015 (Global Assessment Report, 2015) logo. As you can see it has a person holding on to an upside down umbrella, and an upside down A in the acronym. Andrew Maskrey, the Coordinator of the GAR in UNISDR, and its primary author, explained the significance of this logo to the participants at the Workshop on Implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in Hikkaduwa. An umbrella shelters people from inclement weather conditions, and held the right way up would it would depict our need to be protected from disasters. Turn it the other way round, and we turn the whole concept on its head. We now have evidence that disasters are not just acts of God. They don’t just happen. Many are influenced by our own actions. We need to take responsibility for them ourselves. The way in which we prioritise our investments, not just investment in Disaster Risk Reduction or Disaster Management, but investment in development, leads to disasters. The A also turned on its head, reminds us of the same thing, that, as Andew Maskrey had also said in his initial speech, disasters are essentially endogenous to development. The presentations of the panelists in the final session on Investment. Kamal Kishore, from the National Disaster Management Authority of India joining the discussion via skype, Andrew Maskrey, and Dr Prashanthi Gunewardene from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, used this as point of departure and looked at the different ways in which investors make investments, how they account for disaster risk in these investments, and how they prioritise whose risks count.
For a more public discussion on the GAR, with a group of panelists that will include Andrew Maskrey, Mr W M Bandusena, the Secretary Ministry of Disaster Management and Harsha de Silva, MP one of the key economists in our new parliament, please make your way to the Lakshman Kadirigamar Institute in Horton Place, Colombo for CEPA’s 54th Open Forum on 3rd September at 4.00pm.
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