The Forum was convened by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB/CU), the Turkish State Meteorological Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States of America, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and WMO.
The Forum’s review of studies and other experiences with hazards and disasters revealed a wealth of lessons learnt from events that had been identified but corresponding measures not implemented. Many of these were “re-discovered” during the next similar disaster ... even when the subsequent disaster occurred in the same location. Thus, a lesson “identified” is not necessarily a lesson “learned”.
The costs of disaster risk reduction responses are increasing while demands on budgets intensify with growing occurences of climate, water and weather and high-impact and record-setting extremes. Thus, disaster risk reduction stakeholders are forced to develop truly collaborative approaches to achieve short-term and longer-term development goals. The Forum participants were thus unified in issuing a call-to-action in six areas:
- The need for a lessons identified portal – A disaster risk reduction knowledge portal should be established to focus specifically on collecting, verifying, cataloguing, archiving, transferring and sharing both the positive and negative lessons identified during disaster or hazard related interventions.
- Incentives for disaster risk reduction learning and capacity building (and pilot projects) – Governments, development banks, the United Nations, donors and implementing partners are called upon to improve the sustainability of DRR project outcomes by creating incentives.
- Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation communities should optimize synergies and fill gaps in their activities in mutually supportive ways for longer-term sustainability.
- The need to recognize, foster and support the active involvement of youth and young professionals as critical partners, acknowledging their key role in the lessons learning process and as society’s next generation of decision-makers.
- Early Warning Systems (EWSs) developers and operators need to pay more attention to the systems’ weaker links and to seek and listen to feedback on what works and what does not from the concerned groups and communities using EWS outputs.
- To enhance the use and value of limited resources, there is an urgent need for improved coordination among governments, donors and banks!
Ninety participants from 43 countries, drawn from government agencies, humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and applied science research institutions, practitioners and youth and young professionals attended the Forum.