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October 23, 2017
ParlAmericas and the Office of the United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction sign a Letter of Cooperation to advance the Sendai Framework in parliaments across Latin America and the Caribbean

On October 20, 2017, ParlAmericas and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) signed a Letter of Cooperation as the first step in a joint work plan to update and promote a parliamentary protocol that will guide national parliaments in updating legislation related to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

The signing took place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, during a parliamentary luncheon for Dr. Robert Glasser, head of the UNISDR and appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, that was hosted by the Honourable Robert Nault, Member of Parliament (Canada) and Vice-President of ParlAmericas, and Mr. Dan Ruimy, Member of Parliament (Canada) and Vice-President for North America of the ParlAmericas Parliamentary Network on Climate Change.

Through the discussion, Mr. Nault noted that, “For Canada to ensure our development assistance investments have the greatest impact, we must find ways to promote the integration of disaster risk reduction into climate change programs. Parliamentarians can assist to protect development gains in the hemisphere by creating incentives for governments and stakeholders to adopt disaster risk planning whenever it is possible.”

Dr. Glasser added: “It is necessary to strengthen the legislative framework to promote a paradigm shift towards risk-sensitive and resilient development. New or amended legislation should include a set of standard essential elements and link with related legal instruments to prevent and reduce risk effectively and strengthen resilience. Considering the high vulnerability of the Americas and the Caribbean to disasters, updating the parliamentary protocol on disaster risk reduction will help parliaments of the region to align their national legislation with the advances made with the Sendai Framework.”

The protocol to be developed will centre on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which was the main outcome of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in May 2015, in Sendai, Japan. As part of its core priorities and targets, the Sendai Framework calls on parliamentarians to support disaster risk reduction by developing or amending relevant legislation and setting budget allocations. ParlAmericas and UNISDR will work to promote coherence of national legislation with local disaster risk reduction frameworks and policies to guide actions of public and private actors to address disaster risk.

Alisha Todd, Director General of ParlAmericas, explained that “ParlAmericas works to support the parliaments of the Americas and the Caribbean in advancing the climate change agenda and the implementation of the Paris Agreement in particular. We look forward to our partnership with UNISDR and the opportunities this presents for both institutions to further integrate disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development in national legislation.”