Manila Declaration on Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction
We, the participants of the Asia-Pacific Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 convened on 7-8 April 2022 by the Government of the Philippines and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, renew our commitment to accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement as well as the New Urban Agenda for climate and disaster resilient development. We commit to developing and disseminating science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) for disaster risk reduction drawing on the fourteen actions and six cooperative mechanisms identified in the First and Second Asian Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in 2016 and 2018, respectively, and on the actions for science and technology-based disaster risk reduction of the Asia Pacific Science and Technology Conference in Malaysia in 2020; as well as to bring forward the Global Science Technology Road Map implementation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Recognizing the increased complexity of risk due to the potential for cascading impacts from multiple hazards across geographies /boundaries, systems, sectors and scales, we commit to addressing priority challenges observed since 2015, examining emerging issues to be considered through 2030 and beyond and undertaking systems-based, all-hazard and all-of-society approaches toward transformative actions and resilient pathways. Coming at the midpoint of the Sendai Framework implementation, these deliberations will contribute to the Mid-term Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and express our commitment to focus on the accelerators identified herewith to achieve synergies between science, policy and action.
Science and technology (S&T) have historically played important roles in different disciplines, and disaster risk reduction (DRR) is not an exception. From risk understanding to risk assessment, from risk prevention/ mitigation to early warning, different types of technologies have been used and found effective. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) highlights the importance of S&T in decision and policy making. In 2019, the S & T community renewed their commitments in the Global Platform through the new Science Technology Road Map with specific outcome indicators. Although there has been an increasing understanding of the importance of S&T in the global, regional and national levels, its use at the local level still remains a significant challenge. With increasing urbanization, climate change and other anthropogenic pressures, many urban areas are becoming hotspots of disasters. As asset concentration and resource utilization are higher in cities, there needs to be stronger evidence of science-based decision making at the city and local government levels.
With climate change, adaptive governance for resilience is becoming a “new normal”, and the key challenge is how we can apply science-based adaptive governance as opposed to “ad-hoc adaptive governance”. Inclusivity is essential to adaptive governance and disaster risk management. Innovation and the use of new and emerging technologies are other issues which need to be considered when S&T approaches are discussed. The role of youth and young professionals is also critical to bring innovation in the field of DRR with application of new and emerging technologies and promoting social entrepreneurship in the field of DRR. The increasing pace of systems interactions and functioning as well as the increase in frequency of hazards requires an increase of speed in the ability of SETI to co-create solutions.
Following a decision by the UN General Assembly, a midterm review of the Sendai Framework will take place in 2023, and the outcomes and policy recommendations of this process would constitute an essential contribution to the stocktaking and identification of strategic areas for further action. It will also contribute to the implementation of the Asia Pacific Action Plan 2021-2024 for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 launched at the Asia Pacific Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction Forum in December 2021. Science is meant to serve the well-being of persons and communities and to that aim, it is key to have a “science for the people” approach.
Accelerators for Actions
The 2022 Asia Pacific Science Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction was organized on 7-8 April 2022 in a blended form. In Manila, the Philippines, around 150 people joined the conference, and over 1,000 people joined online from different parts of the Asia Pacific region and beyond. The participants agreed and discussed on the following challenges and actions:
1. Actions for Science-based Adaptive Governance:
Adaptive governance is considered a new governance approach to foster decision making in the world of uncertainties. It is important to recognize the commitment to investing in prevention and pre-disaster recovery planning for resilience and the need for the natural, social and behavioral and engineering as well as political, administrative and legal sciences to understand the nature and dynamics of compound, cascading and systemic risk and frame current and foreseeable challenges in innovative ways for innovative solutions. An all-hazard approach, including the consideration of compound, cascading and systemic risks, is advanced to take into account the changing risk landscape. Transparent data sharing, data policy and standardization is important to foster science based adaptive government practices. Governance adaptivity is contingent to being inclusive of stakeholders in decision making and implementation. This calls for innovative approaches to use SETI to include vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, children and youth, persons living with disabilities and older persons, and to ensure accessibility.
2. Understanding, Analyzing and Localizing of SETI Solutions:
It is important to localize SETI solutions, especially in light of growing inequalities, to build trust through dialogue, collaboration and action with multiple stakeholders. We need to harness digital technology in understanding, analyzing and communicating risk across different audiences. We need to engage non-science actors as both consumers and sources of knowledge and expertise, e.g., executive and legislative national and local governments, private sector, media, civil society organizations and communities as sources of local knowledge. This would also include leveraging on local, traditional and indigenous knowledge.
3. Trans-disciplinary education and research and youth leadership and participation:
Trans-disciplinary approaches are required to reflect the importance of social sciences, including economics, political administrative, legal science and psychology, and indigenous and local knowledge. Higher education provides an important pathway for enhancing new research and innovation. Youth and young professionals are considered as the leaders to catalyze SETI in DRR as well as in future higher education approaches.
4. Capacity enhancement and Investment:
It is important to enhance S & T capacities at the local level, especially linking the local governments and local academic institutions. More education, training and learning exchanges on implementing comprehensive risk management are required to build capacities. Platforms for knowledge transfer and sharing of good practices need to be promoted using various channels and technologies across sectors, including the private sector, and through international collaboration. Increased investment is necessary in SETI as well as close collaboration between conventional disaster risk reduction scientists and scientists in the fields of finance and economics on longer term financing and investment for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and resilience.
5. Science technology progress monitoring:
While it is important to generate new science and science-based advocacy, there needs to be clear mechanism for S&T advancement in the region. Sendai voluntary commitment of S&T community is an important mechanism, which is based on the Global and regional S&T road maps. It is key to enhance international cooperation to support technology transfer initiative and frameworks.
All participants of the Asia Pacific Science and Technology Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 held on 7-8 April 2022.