March in Montreal: Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas
Joining delegates from 50 countries and territories from across the Americas, four Latin American representatives of the Community Practitioners Platform (CPP) for Resilience, sponsored by Huairou, braved icy temperatures and frozen streets in Montreal earlier this month. They were taking part in the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas (7-9 March 2017), organized by UNISDR and hosted by the Government of Canada, as a means to galvanize regional cooperation on implementing the Sendai Framework for DRR.
Haydee Rodriguez (Unión de Cooperativas de Mujeres Las Brumas, Nicaragua), Josefina Miculax (Fundación Guatemala, Guatemala), Diocelinda Iza (Movimiento de Mujeres Luna Creciente/OMICSE, Ecuador), Relinda Sosa (GROOTS Peru/CONAMOVIDI, Peru), with staff support from Manuela Pinilla and Tatiana Fazio, represented the CPP at various high-level events and stakeholder discussions with policymakers, practitioners, experts and disaster risk managers.
Parallel Session 3 “Building Resiliency: Indigenous Peoples and Disaster Risk Reduction,” hosted by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the Government of Mexico highlighted how traditional knowledge has enabled indigenous populations to cope with increasing threats of climate-related disaster in their territories. Citing examples from Guatemala (Sistema CONRED), Canada (First Nations Health Authority; University of Alberta), Ecuador (Luna Creciente and Huairou Commission), and the United States (Center for Public Service Communications), panelists demonstrated the importance of institutionalizing these successful, traditional approaches – cutting across themes as diverse as heath, food security, and governance. Diocelinda Iza in particular showcased the ways in which food security and food sovereignty practices have improved the resilience of indigenous women and their communities to drought, flooding, and other shocks. She furthermore brought the conversation back to building partnerships, by highlighting the need for local actors to work hand-in-hand with communities in creating holistic strategies that mitigate climate threats to agriculture, that additionally respect and protect indigenous practices.
Parallel Session 4 “Empowerment of Women and Girls and Gender Equality in Disaster Risk Reduction” provided a platform for Relinda Sosa to speak to the idea that DRR is not a “sector” of development, but rather a lens through which development policies and programs can better withstand the increased risks of disasters and climate change faced by under-resourced communities. Relinda outlined how organized groups of grassroots women, who are forced to build community resilience practices to protect their assets and families, must be recognized as agents of change and included in decision-making processes for the Sendai Framework to succeed. The panel, hosted by Global Affairs Canada and the Inter-American Commission of Women, affirmed that governments and development agencies must invest in successful initiatives and processes to enhance women’s participation in DRR policies and programs and move beyond broad gender mainstreaming principles and strategies.
At the Ignite Stage, a session on “Grassroots Women Building Resilience: Practices from the Bottom-Up” offered CPP representatives another opportunity to share innovative tools, practices, and experiences on DRR implementation. The four representatives focused on how the Community Resilience Fund is now a powerful financing mechanism to channel funds to community-based women’s groups, to plan and implement successful initiatives that accelerate resilience in rural and urban areas.
In May 2017 delegates from Huairou Commission and beyond will bring the Americas perspective to the global stage in Cancun, Mexico, for the Global Platform on DRR.