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British academic recommends SDGs become integral to building resilience

British academic recommends SDGs become integral to building resilience
30 May

A British academic believes that small island states, including those in the Caribbean, need to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a guide to help them mitigate the impact of climate change and build resilience.

Professor Mark Pelling of King’s College in London, who will deliver the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) William G Demas Memorial lecture on Tuesday night, said that his key message would be for the region to make more use of the SDG.

The lecture is part of the annual meeting of the CDB Board of Governors that ends here on Friday.

“The key message is that if one start thinking about resilience and disasters through the lenses of the sustainable development goals, as increasingly as one does these days, resilience is littered throughout those goals,” he told a news conference.

“So, the flagship goal or number one is to eradicate poverty. Target 1.5 is build resilience, the indicator propose for that is to reduce the number of persons affected by disasters; goal 11 on cities, goal 13 on climate change also propose to have resilience which trickle down in terms of the actual target to either reducing the number of persons affected by disasters or building disaster management plans of one kind or another,” he said.

The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

Pelling who will be speaking on the topic: “From Social Resilience to Survival-led Reconstruction,” said that the SDGs provide a ready framework for international organisations, countries and communities to build on as a means of surviving disasters and hazards.

He is also recommending that focus be placed on every day risk and not only preparing for a major or extreme catastrophe.

“If one moves from the catastrophic to the everyday, then the developmental causes of risk will really come to the fore, and it becomes every clear that one is less interested in extreme weather event and more interested every day risk such as access to basic infrastructure,” he said.

“People who are affected by one extreme disaster are also expose to every day events like low level rainfall, tidal events, low level wind storms, poor roads, development capacity or individual impact at the household level,” he said.

According to the World Bank, the Caribbean’s population and assets are amongst the most exposed to natural disasters in the world.

The Caribbean region as a whole is estimated to have lost approximately nine billion US dollars in a four year period between 2007 and 2011.

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