Peace Boat x UNISDR Joint Programme – Resilient Youth in Asia
Young leaders from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore gathered to share experiences and best practices related to disaster risk reduction onboard NGO Peace Boat’s passenger ship as it sailed from Japan to the Philippines and onwards to Singapore.
The “Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Building for Young Leaders in Asia” programme, co-organized by Peace Boat and UNISDR, was held during the first leg of the Japan-based NGO’s 88th Global Voyage for Peace.
During the 10-day programme, a group of young leaders representing government, NGOs and academia, guided by a UNISDR representative, learned from one another of the success and challenges of reducing disaster risk in their respective countries, in the aim of strengthening regional cooperation on DRR and building relations between emerging leaders.
Along with the sessions onboard the ship, the programme featured hands-on activities in port. In Cebu, the group was hosted by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), who brought the participants to parts of the island that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
The group was able to meet with affected community members, hear first-hand accounts of the disaster, and learn about how to build back better in the post-disaster landscape. The participants were also invited to observe a high school earthquake drill, organized by the students themselves, which highlighted the commitment of young people in Cebu who are working hard to build resilience in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The programme concluded in Singapore, where the participants were invited to the Earth Observatory Singapore, an institute that researches geohazards in and around Southeast Asia to build safer communities. There, the group had passionate discussions with researchers about hazards in their home countries and gained useful information that can be applied in their day-to-day duties.
Throughout the programme, thematic sessions focused on the newly adopted global agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction , as well as the UNISDR’s “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign. The UNISDR representative reiterated the importance of the campaign as one of the key instruments to achieve the goals of the Sendai Framework at the local level, and emphasized the need for be multi-stakeholder partnerships.
The young leaders also discussed the importance of implementing effective risk assessments at the local, regional and national levels, and agreed that these must be complementary and synergistic in order to protect communities holistically. The participants also voiced their commitment to integrating disaster risk reduction with climate change and sustainable development, especially with the launch of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
“Although we work in disaster risk reduction on a daily basis, we still have more to learn in order to effectively integrate disaster risk reduction with climate change adaptation and sustainable development. We must also consider the importance of the cultural context when implementing DRR programmes at all levels,” said Mohamad Robi Amri from Indonesia
After an intensive and enjoyable 10 days together, the participants walked away with new perspectives on DRR, strong friendships, and the will to cooperate beyond borders to enhance the resilience of the Asia-Pacific region.