Disaster risk reduction: Getting our voices heard on the other side of the world

Disaster risk reduction: Getting our voices heard on the other side of the world

From 22-26 of May 2017, the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Cancun, Mexico. We reported to the European Disability Forum (EDF) preparatory workshop, which we held one week before in which we explored good practices taking place in Europe and learned more about the International and European frameworks for Disaster Risk Reduction.

During the conference in Cancun itself, thanks to new technologies for remote participation being used at the conference, EDF had the opportunities to give input from Europe at the Global Platform. Remote hubs from Europe, Bangladesh, the Philippines and the Pacific took part in the conference via robot and through an interactive teleconferencing system.

The EDF Director, Catherine Naughton, took place in the preparatory meeting for Europe, and gave input from our workshop- she was present as a robot, sitting behind her computer in Brussels, and got to give input on good practice from Europe, but also to ask European countries what they were doing to include persons with disabilities in line with Sendai.

It was possible to move around the conference and meet other participants, and robots from Bangladesh, the Philippines and the Pacific region. The robots got to meet with the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed to discuss their issues.

This was an excellent experiment for EDF in using new technologies to participate remotely- ultimately technology should help us to be involved in dialogue on policies and programmes, without the cost and environmental impact of short and long distance travel. Thanks to all the EDF members, CBM colleagues, United Nations Office (UNISDR), the Institute on Disability and Public Policy and the Nippon foundation for the support and collaboration in this process.