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Resolution adopted unanimously by the 130th IPU Assembly
(Geneva, 20 March 2014)

The 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Expressing deep concern at the continued mounting impact and risk of disasters worldwide, which threaten people’s lives and livelihoods, derail socio-economic development and damage the environment,

Noting that development patterns, including poorly planned and managed urbanization, population growth in high-risk areas, endemic poverty, weak governance and institutions, and environmental degradation, are important drivers of disaster risk,

Also noting that disasters, especially those resulting from climate change and exacerbated by population growth and distribution and other factors, such as poor use and management of resources, have been identified by the international community, for instance in the Outcome Document of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), as major challenges for sustainable development,

Reaffirming the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster, and underscoring the need to accelerate its implementation at international, regional, national and particularly local level,

Recognizing the urgent need to integrate and build stronger linkages between policies and programmes relating to disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery, climate change, long-term economic and social development, urban planning, demographic dynamics and environmental protection, so as to be able to address the underlying causes of disaster risk,

Also recognizing that global population growth, which is expected to continue for several more decades, and demographic distribution, especially increased population density and urbanization, heighten vulnerability to disasters and that the demographic factor has a direct effect on food security and self-sufficiency in areas that are prone to drought-induced famine and malnutrition,

Underscoring that demographic dynamics are a significant contributor to climate change and disaster risk insofar as they place additional stress on natural resources, heighten the vulnerability of communities to natural hazards and add to the human impact on ecosystems, primarily by increasing demands for food, fresh water, timber and fuel,

Affirming that all women have the right to plan their own lives, including when and whether to have children, and stressing that unintended pregnancy is the factor of continued population growth most amenable to policy intervention,

Convinced that governments are a critical stakeholder when it comes to addressing disaster risk resilience and population dynamics in the context of sustainable development, which is a matter of political responsibility, and that parliamentarians have a critical role to play in ensuring that the political will exists to achieve results through legislation, policy oversight and the allocation of resources,

Noting that women and children are more likely to suffer physically and psychologically in disasters and during the post-disaster recovery and reconstruction period,

Acknowledging that women have to be part of disaster management, from prevention to rehabilitation,

Underscoring the need for education at all levels and the importance of winning over local players in order to raise awareness of disaster risk resilience and related demographic issues and to galvanize public support for the measures needed to build resilience,

  1. Calls on all members of parliament to acquire information on and knowledge of issues related to disaster and risk trends, so as to enhance their oversight role with regard to reducing the impact and risk of disasters, building resilience, protecting people and safeguarding development gains from disasters and the effects of climate change, while guaranteeing that this becomes an important issue on the national agenda and that the relevant measures are implemented;
  2. Also calls on all members of parliament to take immediate action to review existing legislation related to disaster risk reduction in the light of community realities and considering their environment, natural habitat and people as the main resources for developing relevant processes, and to determine whether it is sufficient to hold key players, including policymakers and the private sector, to account for the consequences of risk-intensive development policies or investments;
  3. Invites the United Nations to formalize the principle of reparation for victims of natural disasters and reparation for damage caused by States with development strategies that run counter to the recommendations made by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development;
  4. Appeals to all governments to take immediate action to review national policies and regulations so as to ensure that socio-economic development is balanced against the need to reduce the risk, to the population and the economy, of disasters in the long run, as more engagement is needed to keep development policies and practices coherent and aligned with those for disaster risk reduction, environmental protection and adaptation to climate change;
  5. Also appeals to all governments to improve and enhance their mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and ensure that development policy and strategies build the disaster risk resilience of their people and the economy by drawing up a map of at-risk areas by nature of risk, by putting in place early warning systems and guaranteeing construction safety, and by improving legislation, institutional frameworks, policy and accountability and increasing budgetary allocations for disaster-resilient development, with due regard for the specific needs of women and particular attention to those of people with disabilities;
  6. Urges parliaments and governments to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women when it comes to land and livestock ownership and to facilitate women’s access to credit as means of strengthening women’s resilience;
  7. Calls on governments and parliaments to integrate gender and age perspectives into the design and implementation of all phases of risk management;
  8. Encourages governments and parliaments to evaluate risk and build resiliency to disasters by investing in shock-resistant infrastructure and inclusive social protection systems, particularly for vulnerable and at-risk communities;
  9. Calls on governments and parliaments to advance food security and to promote sustainable agricultural development, with a particular emphasis on strategies that prioritize the needs and circumstances of rural communities, as key components of resilient communities;
  10. Urges governments and parliaments to invest in early warning systems and to ensure that those systems are integrated into their disaster risk reduction strategies, relevant governmental policy and decision-making processes, and emergency management systems;
  11. Urges the United Nations system and other international and intergovernmental organizations to promote the building of resiliency to disasters and shocks as a fundamental aspect of development, to ensure that resiliency and risk assessments are integrated into international efforts targeting poverty reduction and sustainable development, and to be a role model for improved governance for disaster risk reduction by advocating the key principles thereof and acting transparently and with accountability for the consequences of decisions on country-level programmes and investment;
  12. Also urges the United Nations system to provide special support to developing countries so that the findings of relevant reports can be implemented and solutions found to facilitate the financing of mitigation works in those countries;
  13. Urges governments to integrate factors of population growth, family planning and demographic dynamics into policy measures for sustainable development, which should also promote resilience to disasters and to climate change;
  14. Calls on parliaments to work, at national, regional and international level, for the inclusion of a reproductive health indicator as part of the post-2015 development goals in the areas of health, equity and women’s empowerment, to promote a rights-based approach to reproductive health and to take appropriate measures, through legislation and budget allocations, to provide universal access to voluntary family planning services;
  15. Urges governments to participate actively in the ongoing consultations on the post‑2015 development agenda and the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction in order to gain information, knowledge and technical support for the development of a national post-2015 disaster risk-resilient development agenda, as the post-2015 development agenda and framework are both indissociable from the promotion of sustainable and risk-resilient poverty reduction and development;
  16. Also urges governments and the United Nations system to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda and framework for disaster risk reduction are mutually reinforcing;
  17. Calls on all parliaments to support government efforts to develop disaster-resilient development policies and strategies that give serious consideration to disaster risk assessment, including population factors, at the planning and programme stages, as development without disaster resilience is not sustainable;
  18. Calls on governments, when they develop disaster risk reduction legislation, policies and plans, to take into consideration the specific role of women, in particular women holding office in local government and councils and women in grassroots organizations, in risk reduction, planning, relocation, housing and infrastructure development efforts;
  19. Reiterates that reducing disaster risk and protecting people’s lives are the legal responsibility of all elected representatives, and thus encourages all parliaments to develop a national forum for legislators on disaster risk reduction and risk-resilient development;
  20. Calls for the involvement, together with governments and parliaments, of civil society, the private sector and the scientific community, with a view to reducing disaster risks and promoting measures to fight problems arising from climate change;
  21. Calls on parliaments to scrutinize government policy and actions with regard to disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development, and to use all available instruments, including legislation and in particular environmental and public policy impact studies, to ensure that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures are integrated into national planning and budgeting processes;
  22. Calls for the establishment of specific committees to study climate change in those parliaments where they do not exist, so that they are aware of and analyse all the problems related to sustainable development in order to promote measures and strategies to prevent and alleviate them;
  23. Urges donor countries and international development agencies to take a responsible approach and play a leading role in integrating disaster risk reduction and reproductive health measures, in particular consideration of the rights to sexual and reproductive health of each individual, into development planning and programmes, to ensure that aid‑supported development activities contribute to disaster risk-resilient development;
  24. Calls on all parliamentarians to make combating corruption and illegal financial flows a priority, as these significantly affect the mobilization and proper allocation of resources to the detriment of the environmental components of sustainable development programmes;
  25. Urges donor and recipient countries to focus increasingly on promoting national resource management, particularly management of water and energy resource supplies and use, in order to prevent and mitigate high disaster risks, strengthen resilience and ultimately contribute to sustainable development;
  26. Urges governments, parliaments and international organizations to enhance international cooperation in support of risk identification and management and resilient development, by providing technical assistance and capacity-building, as appropriate, in developing countries;
  27. Calls on all parliaments to drive the process for political ownership and will at the governmental level in order to achieve tangible results in sustainable development and to contain human-induced environmental changes that contribute to the occurrence or severity of natural disasters, especially as a result of climate change; in particular, calls for the conclusion by 2015 of an ambitious global agreement that has legal force under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is applicable to all the Parties thereto;
  28. Invites all IPU Member Parliaments to take urgent action to follow up on the recommendations made in this resolution in their respective countries and regions.

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