The IG Live session was moderated by Durodoluwa Femi-Ajala, and guest speaker Sara Belligoni did justice to the topic of Response to Humanitarian Crisis in this Decade of Action.

Durodoluwa started off by asking the meaning of disaster risk and resilience, it’s correlation to the decade of action and it’s importance in the world we are in today. Sara responded beautifully by breaking it down simply as the use of strategies and action which we can undertake to reduce the impact of natural hazards on the community. She stated that Resilience is the capability of a community to face a natural hazard and somehow avoid a disaster from happening. This is important in the decade of action as several disasters have been seen happening in places. It is also important as it enables communities to avoid injuries, loss of lives that happens when a natural hazard occurs.

Sara was further asked about the Sendai Framework of 2015 and its importance. She stated that it is a set of guidelines and potential strategies that the united nations together with other actors and entities from international bodies put in place to help Member States working on disaster risk and resilience activities at local level. It serves as the umbrella for all Member States when it comes to identifying what potential strategies can be put in place to reduce the risk from experiencing disaster from natural hazards. It is usually from the lessons learnt from the past, strategies are then set from up them and implemented to prevent or mitigate effect of natural hazards on communities.

The session went further and the guest was further asked what happens to communities that do not have enough financial resources to take care of their risk and build resilience and she stated that we have to shift from emergency response and try to shift to mitigation as the international community is now equipped and focused on how to mitigate disasters from occurring and helping local communities to do that. She further stated that the UNDP also tries to support those communities that have financial issues.

Durodoluwa further to ask how far the Sendai Framework has come to its actualization, and if not what is the way forward. Sara explained that a lot has been done but with the pandemic a lot of the goals within the SDGs agenda have been jeopardized, but there is a lot of encouraging data from the indicators used to assess how communities are responding to disaster mitigation and we are currently in the recovery phase.

Our guest was also asked if there was no proper planning in place which would have allowed us foresee the COVID-19 pandemic and are there ways by which the high mortality rate could have been prevented. She responded stating that with COVID-19, we are facing a pandemic that has a wide spread all over the world, even though structures have been put in place towards epidemics, COVID-19 being widespread and not been in just a specific place has made it hard to mitigate it, making the response more complicated.

She was further asked what steps are being taken now that we know what COVID -19 is and how it has affected us and she stated that we have learnt to always prepare for events that are extraordinary. She further stated that the WHO International Health Framework which has been used for responding to infectious disease outbreaks could not help, therefore,  it is important we develop framework and guidelines for specific disease outbreaks and pandemics.

After this, Durodoluwa asked about SMEs and how they can recover post COVID. Sara stated that we need to realize what we can do with technology, as this can help over come the issues, problem and limitations they faced during these times. She also pointed out the importance of a better connection with the top and bottom, noting the importance of tax reliefs and financial support when needed. It was further stated that the SMEs should also adopt a business model to help meet demand despite the crises. She stated that for those businesses that cannot be virtual, the communities should help them grow as they also help the community grow, by catering to the demands of the community, such that the needs of the community can be sourced for locally.

Sara Belligoni concluded by thanking YSDC for the invite and stated that she loves to talk about her research. She let us know that for someone researching emergency response, the pandemic was unprecedented in her field. Finally, she stated that more attention should be placed on resilience in helping mitigate natural disasters and basic rights and needs ought to be satisfied.