"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Kobe Communiqué- For Further Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action -

[Place] Kobe
[Date] January 15, 2007
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

The International Forum on Tsunami and Earthquake "Progress of the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and Recovery from Tsunami and Earthquake" took place in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan on 15-16 January 2007. The Forum was hosted by the Government of Japan, International Recovery Platform (IRP) Kobe, Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) and Hyogo Prefectural Government in partnership with Governments of Switzerland and Italy, UN/ISDR, UNDP, UN/OCHA, ILO, The World Bank, IFRC and UN-Habitat.

About 300 participants from 34 countries and 20 international organizations comprised of dignitaries, national and local officials, experts on disaster reduction and recovery, and representatives of various stakeholders, attended the Forum.

The Forum aimed to contribute to achieving the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) to reduce risks and vulnerabilities of countries and communities.

The concrete objectives of the Forum were to:

a) Present important perspectives of post disaster recovery;

b) Facilitate and promote exchange of lessons and experiences on post disaster recovery, particularly the on-going recovery efforts; and

c) Provide feedback from countries on their respective implementation of the HFA priorities of action.

His Excellency Mr. Kensei Mizote, Minister of State for Disaster Management, Japan, opened the Forum and conveyed its commitment to promote international cooperation in building the disaster resilience of nations.

The Forum facilitated constructive and dedicated discussions among the participants on the key issues on recovery and resulted in the following outcomes:

1. The Forum highlighted the importance of advancing international cooperation in disaster risk reduction, promoting build back better principles, and addressing issues on governance, institutional arrangements, education, and local culture in recovery processes.

2. The Forum brought about a better understanding among the participants regarding the appropriate and sustainable recovery practices deployed in disaster affected countries in different country contexts. The disaster recovery experiences of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan and other countries underscored the necessity of the incorporation of risk reduction elements in every aspect of recovery process.

3. The Forum discussed the following critical aspects of post disaster recovery from the tsunami and earthquake: a) Housing, b) Livelihood, c) Governance and Institutional Arrangements for Recovery, and d) crosscutting issues, among others, Environment, Gender and Information Dissemination (Early Warning). The following issues were recommended as requirements to support better recovery;

>Need for an integrated recovery planning considering the socio-economic, cultural and environmental context,

>Use of appropriate recovery guidelines and standard for sectoral recovery initiatives,

>Sustainable institutional arrangement for effective post disaster recovery, and

>Equity issues in all aspects of recovery.

4. The participants emphasized the need for expansion of networks and partnerships through the International Recovery Platform (IRP) activities of recovery stakeholders, among others, UN agencies, international/ regional institutions, countries, local governments, NGOs, IFIs and communities for promoting effective experience sharing and pragmatic initiatives on disaster risk reduction and recovery practices. Further enhancement of global disaster recovery network was proposed to ensure better recovery. The importance of facilitating South-South cooperation was stressed.

5. Participants emphasized the need to strengthen the capacity of countries and communities by enhancing knowledge networking and recovery preparedness, providing human resource development training as well as damage and needs assessment tools, developing user-friendly recovery databases, and organising constant on-line dialogues and forums.

6. The Forum recognized risk reduction as an integral component of recovery to achieve sustainable development. Further efforts are required to mainstream risk reduction and to address appropriate policy development and reform in high risk countries. For this purpose, strengthening of the ISDR system is crucial for effectiveness of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), IRP and other relevant platforms, networks and initiatives.

7. Overall, the Forum has called for collective action for the pursuit the goals of the HFA, in particular development and strengthening of national platforms, including enhanced mechanisms for multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration and for increased involvement of national policy makers, national and local government officials, and community leaders in disaster risk reduction and post disaster recovery efforts.