Press Releases, Papers & Submissions

CID Submission - Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, 13th – 17th May 2019

Posted on 01 September 2019


1.       The Council for International Development (CID) would like to thank MFAT for the opportunity to make a submission to support the delegation attending the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place in Geneva 13th – 17th May 2019. This submission lays out thoughts from CID’s NGO Disaster Relief Forum (NDRF) on critical aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction from a New Zealand International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs)/ civil society perspective, particularly as it pertains to our work in the Pacific region, but also further afield. 

2.       The Council for International Development (CID) is the national umbrella agency of international development organisations based in Aotearoa New Zealand. CID was formed in 1985 by a number of development INGOs and aid agencies to coordinate some activities and present a single voice on issues of common concern. 

3.       The NDRF is CID’s humanitarian network and a sub-committee made up of CID members that have an interest and involvement in international humanitarian response and emergency management issues. The aim of the NDRF is to provide a collective civil society voice and forum for co-operation and shared learning for best practice in international humanitarian assistance for New Zealand INGOs.

4.       NDRF members coordinate the response from New Zealand INGOs during humanitarian emergencies to minimise duplication and ensure their action is appropriate and as effective as possible. NDRF work with MFAT to provide information from members and to engage with funding processes.  NDRF is an open forum and encourages non-CID members and observers, such as New Zealand Red Cross, and the Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management, to engage with and contribute to the outcomes of the forum.

5.       The NDRF understands that the 6th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) will represent an opportunity for the international community to reinforce the implementation of the Sendai Framework related goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is also the last global gathering for all stakeholders before the deadline for achieving Target E of the Sendai Framework: to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.

6.       We also understand that the thematic focus of the GP2019 is ‘Resilience Dividend: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societies’ with a focus on how managing DRR and risk-informed development investments can pay dividends (in the broadest sense) in multiple sectors throughout social, economic, financial and environmental fields. It is within these parameters that the following submission has been written. 

7.       The aspects of DRR that CID and its NDRF would like to reinforce in GPDRR discussions, and to be further strengthened in policy recommendations, are covered under the following headings:

        i.            Value-add of International Non-Government Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations in DRR

        ii.            Role of localisation

        iii.            Importance of an Empowering and Inclusive approach

        iv.            Environmental Degradation, & Climate Change Adaptation

         v.            Financing for DRR


8.       A collection of short case-studies outlining examples of resilience capacity-development as part of DRR is included as Annex A – Engagement of New Zealand INGOs in Regional and Global DRR Initiatives.


Value-add of International Non-Government Organisations and Faith-Based Organisations in DRR

9.       New Zealand INGOs are a particularly important partner for local organisations engaged in risk reduction and preparedness planning, particularly in remote areas where there may not be a sustained government presence overlooking regional or local planning. Additionally New Zealand INGOs, through their long-term partnerships and strong collaboration with local organisations, are often focused on empowering the most vulnerable and responding to specific needs for those affected by the disaster.

10.   New Zealand INGOs are often key for local partners to resource and developed expertise in disaster response, through the implementation of community DRR training in their communities, and support for community leaders in any emergency response. 

11.   In the Pacific, churches and other Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) have become increasingly effective in leading localised humanitarian responses, and becoming valuable influencers within communities that are eager to promote community resilience[1]. Furthermore, FBOs are also common among the first responders in a humanitarian crisis. Through the partnership with New Zealand INGOs, Churches and FBOs are also critical risk-informed development actors that are contributing to making their communities resilient and sustainable.[2]



12.   That donors need to consider how their engagement allow for real cooperation and support between INGOs and local INGOs in preparedness planning and resilience activities. This is particularly relevant in remote areas where national risk reduction strategies may be overlooked or less sustainable.  

13.   That greater recognition needs to be given by donors to the role that Churches and Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) provide as first responders following an emergency, and their role as key community influencers for resilience activities and the dissemination of DRR initiatives.


Role of Localisation

14.   Communities living in the Pacific are five times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than those living outside the region. Shared cultural understanding of what resilience means, and lived experience of disasters, have equipped regional communities with visceral understanding on how risk and preparedness information is best managed locally.


15.   New Zealand INGOs are playing their part in operationalising the Grand Bargain commitments on localisation. New Zealand INGOs also support the perspective of many Pacific humanitarian actors that the transfer of power and relationships lies at the core of realising genuine localisation.

16.   The realisation of the localisation agenda is also key in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and part of this is greater credence to local authority, definition and decision-making. As such, in lieu of a lack of consensus on aspects of global issues, such as climate change and poverty alleviation, deference should be made to consideration of local understandings of risk, and decision-making in both DRR and response.

17.   New Zealand INGOs are engaged in the Pacific with an understanding that greater collaboration is needed between and with Pacific businesses and governments to ensure localisation is a key delivery of the Pacific Reset agenda. The Pacific Reset is about resisting a narrow-minded isolationism, and promoting our shared democratic tradition so we collectively determine our own development agenda, including that which relates to resilience and DRR.

18.   Part of localisation, and the Pacific Reset, is about supporting and ensuring space for South-South Cooperation (SSC) between NGO partners in the Pacific. This is encouraged by New Zealand INGOs to enable a greater exchange of ideas, experiences and best practise. Through South-South cooperation, developing countries can be increasingly encouraged to emerge as donors and the determinant promoters of technical cooperation. It will be especially important that local actors design, and, as much as possible, lead DRR capacity and capability development initiatives that draw effectively on indigenous knowledge and strengths.



19.   That donors need to provide greater consideration to funding capacity and capability development of local actors. This would require a greater level of consultation with INGOs, and local INGOs/ communities, on the development and design of partnership and funding mechanisms for DRR and resilience building.

20.   That donors work collaboratively with local governments and stakeholders in order to institutionalise the DRR approach across the sectors and at multiple levels, so that the above-mentioned Capacity Development initiatives can achieve sustainable system and sector change.

21.   That donors, as per clause 45 of the Sendai Framework, need to provide greater effort and focus to support South-South Coordination, such as through strengthening regional integration of DRR initiatives. This should not be viewed as a replacement or lead to a reduction in North-South cooperation from developed countries.


Importance of an Empowering and Inclusive Approach

22.   DRR and resilience need to be about empowering all groups to reduce their vulnerability and risk before the disaster strikes. A mandate for collecting and analysing age, sex, and disability disaggregated data is essential to assess and advance inclusion within all risk reduction strategies, and DRR and risk-informed development. 

23.   New Zealand INGOs believe that a broad definition of inclusion is required. Particular groups that could be excluded could be those living with physical, sensory, intellectual or persons with disabilities (including mental illness), the elderly, children, ethnic minorities and specific gender groups and is context-specific. 

24.   New Zealand INGOs play a significant role in specifically addressing the needs of children, who make up 30 percent of the world’s population[3] and must be prepared for future challenges. INGOs have a role to play in education and awareness of children and youth.

25.   Involving children and youth in DRR and climate change adaptation activities can pay board dividends, and have far-reaching benefits. Particularly in the Pacific, youth represent the largest cohort.  By involving youth in such activities, they gain leadership skills, experience, and opportunities to contribute to their communities. This, in turn, can increase this group’s sense of confidence and self-worth as well as reducing crime and negative social behaviours.



26.   That donors need to push for better and gender/age/disability responsive measurement of local level progress (including commitments to regularly measure indicators of local participation, capacity and transparency), and have a greater focus on sex, age and disability disaggregated data collection and analysis. 

27.   That donors need to continue to advocate for disability-disaggregated data within national census and National Disaster Management Offices. The realisation of Child Rights should be a key driver in understanding the importance of DRR.

Environmental Degradation, & Climate Change Adaptation

28.   Globally there is increased recognition that DRR lessons/challenges apply to Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) principles, and the overlap of strategies that address underlying causes of vulnerability[4]. This recognition is especially important in the Pacific where climate change has been described as a protracted crisis and magnifies the risk of disasters[5]. National and local risk reduction strategies need to not simply respond, but address the underlying causes of vulnerability. 

29.   A degraded environment also affects children’s ability to access their basic human rights, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Such rights include the right to existence, survival and development (Article 6); and the right to healthy food, potable water and sanitation, adequate housing, rest and leisure, and education – including the development of respect for the natural environment (Articles 24, 27, 29 and 31).

30.   At least 40 per cent of the world’s economy and 80 per cent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources, many of which are at risk because of environmental degradation and climate change. Increasingly New Zealand INGOs are including appropriate conservation and ‘green footprint’ strategies into their programming and partnerships, in an attempt to recognise biodiversity management as being integral to project planning for DRR and resilience building.



31.   That donors need to understand and include Climate Change Adaptation, and biodiversity management, as enablers of broad dividends in support for community resilience, and that this understanding should be more explicit within DRR strategies and promoted through advocacy and education.

32.   That donors need to ensure the involvement of all groups, including children and youth in climate change adaptation activities, and these considerations need to be prioritised in National and local risk reduction strategies.


Financing for DRR 

33.   Investment in DRR and preparedness also makes financial common sense in the long-run.  According to a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) calculation, each dollar invested in disaster preparedness and DRR saves seven dollars in recovery. 

34.   However, financing for disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been at best a very low priority over the past two decades, making up a tiny fraction, 0.4%, of overall investments in development aid. The investments are driven by few large post-disaster projects rather than by systematic DRR strategies that include local community preparedness and capacity development for risk-informed development.

35.   New Zealand INGOs do acknowledge that MFAT has prioritized investment in DRR as a core component of its humanitarian assistance in the Pacific region. It is heartening to see that within the OECD group of donor states, New Zealand provides the highest percentage of humanitarian aid to DRR programming. New Zealand can and should continue to stand as a champion for stronger funding for DRR within humanitarian and development programmes amongst its donor peers.

36.   Funding for DRR in the Pacific does continues to lag behind investment in response, especially for the most vulnerable groups – such as women, children and people with disabilities. These communities must also be resourced to participate more fully as part of localised DRR approaches.

37.   The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) provides Pacific Island countries with state-of-the-art disaster risk information and tools to enhance their disaster risk management capabilities. However there otherwise appears to be insufficient understanding of public investment processes and possible opportunities to integrate risk reduction measures into development planning.



38.   That donors need to increase their investment in developing local capacity, including through increased and more predictable financing for local level DRR. This should include non-traditional donors, better local level access to information and technologies, inclusion of traditional knowledge, and increased delegation of financial and monitoring powers to local actors. 

39.   That donors, as per clause 19(m) of the Sendai Framework, need to increase their focus on adequate, sustainable and timely provision of financial support, technology transfer and capacity-building in the targeting of specific DRR and preparedness challenges.

40.   That donors should boost their commitment to directing a minimum 5% of ODA to Disaster Risk Reduction initiatives, consistent with commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, with an emphasis on local capacity building.


Annex A – Engagement of New Zealand INGOs in Regional and Global DRR Initiatives

cbm (Christian Blind Mission):

 Manny was caught in extensive flooding from Typhoon Ketsana (2009) that almost cost him his life. He was born with a heart condition and at the age of five, Manny was diagnosed with a rare progressive bone disease causing unbearable pain and high susceptibility to fractures. He has been using a wheelchair for most of his life.

Manny was in bed due to his heart ailment when Typhoon Ketsana hit Manila in 2009 with massive torrential rain. Too sick to leave his home and with flooding quickly rising in his house he told his wife and daughter to get themselves to safety. Little did he know that the water would rise so high: “I almost drowned on my bed!

In 2016, Manny joined cbm’s Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction project. He joined all activities and received training on how to prepare for disaster. He had been a key player in reviving the Organization of Persons with Disabilities (DPO) in his barangay of which he became the President later. Learning from his experiences and harnessing training from the DPO Manny is now prepared.


Child Fund New Zealand:

New Zealand INGO, ChildFund New Zealand, is committed to delivering climate-resilient development, which means that development activities ensure people, communities, businesses, and other organisations are able to cope with current climate variability  as well as adapt to future climate change, while also preserving development gains and minimising damages.  ChildFund New Zealand has invested heavily in water infrastructure improvements for agriculture in two drought-prone communities in Kenya, including troughs, water pans, dams, drip-irrigation systems, as well as introduced drought-resistant crops, seed banking and bulking, and farmer training.

Through such disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation investment, ChildFund New Zealand has witnessed first-hand the realisation of the ‘resilience dividend’.  For instance, improved irrigation has meant that farming communities have been able to create new and stable livelihoods as well as being prepared for extreme climatic events.  In addition, such investment often brings marginalised groups, such as women and youth, into activities that provide them with training, business skills, and income generating opportunities. 

Two New Zealand INGOs, ChildFund New Zealand and Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, combined their response efforts in the East Africa Drought emergency, during 2016-2017.  This combined effort ensured that activities were aligned and complimented the work of the other, as well as reaching more people in Turkana, Kenya.


Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA):

After Cyclone Gita struck Tonga in February last year, Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) provided grants to our partners to enable their recovery and support them as they built back to be more resilient to any future disasters. 

VSA Volunteer Bruce Johnson had just finished an assignment in Tonga and was due to return to New Zealand when Cyclone Gita struck. He says, “The devastation that Cyclone Gita left in its wake was horrifying and the impact it had on friends here was heart-breaking. It was hard to imagine how things could be put right, certainly in the short term. Some of the food crops were badly damaged or destroyed during the cyclone and it was very clear that local production of food crops would be negatively impacted.”

His two post-Gita assignments have been with Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation Tonga Trust (MORDI), a community development organisation. MORDI works alongside communities in Tonga to enable them to fight poverty by developing livelihoods and ensuring good health and self-sufficiency.

VSA provided MORDI with financial grants to support communities with seedlings to re-establish household and community gardens after Cyclone Gita, and to support the plant nursery in Tongatapu. Because Sunday is a day of rest in Tonga, and young seedlings need seven-day care in a tropical environment, grants were also made to build an automatic irrigation system. This enabled Sunday watering, but also freed up nursery staff to upskill in more areas. While the nursery had eight staff, only one had agricultural training. Now, all eight have the skills to manage a nursery, and a team of four has re-established MORDI’s nursery in ‘Eua, Growing and diversifying their crops to better withstand disaster and ensure food security.

[1] Pillars of Resilience, 2019
[2] Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 Side Event “Role of Faith in Development”
[3] United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) November 2015: Unless We Act Now: The impact of climate change on children
[4] Marilise Turnbull, Charlotte L. Sterrett, and Amy Hilleboe. Toward Resilience: A Guide to Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. UK: Catholic Relief Services – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2013.
[5] UNISDR Asia and Pacific. (2012). Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific: An Institutional Policy Analysis. Retrieved from