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Disasters, climate change and the Paris Agreement

Managing disasters related to climate change and adopting adaptation strategies are key aspects of prevention and reconstruction. The latter depends on vulnerabilities revealed by a disaster being taken into account. This was the subject we spoke about a few years ago in Washington at the annual Science and Environment conference and in Atlanta at the France-Atlanta Conference. The US President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is disastrous. Announced at the beginning of the typhoon and forest fire season in the United States, and in a context of increasingly destructive disasters throughout the world – and at a time when the major American disaster response agencies (FEMA, OFDA and USAID) do not have directors – it is an irresponsible decision.

Having been present in Hyogo, Sendai and at the COP 21, we travelled to Cancun at the end of May as part of the French delegation to take part in two international conferences. The first of these was organized by the World Meteorological Organisation on climatic risks and warning systems, and the other by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The issues covered included the follow up to the Sendai conference and reinforcing the Hyogo framework for action.

We also took part in discussions on the Climate Risk and Early Warning System initiative launched in December 2015. We highlighted the importance of civil society involvement and the complex ripple effects of disasters and the interactions between conflicts and disasters. This was also an opportunity to underline the major role of civil protection mechanisms and municipal bodies in disaster management.