COVID-19 pandemic is the worst biological disaster observed in recent past. Its unprecedented speed and spread have affected most parts of the world. The year 2020, which is supposed to be an important milestone year for SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), Sendai Framework and Paris Agreement, is under the shadow of the pandemic, which has not only affected the global, regional, national and local economies, but also hindered the achievements of respective SDGs.
A cumulative effect of COVID-19 has strongly affected national and local development planning. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 enhanced the scope of disaster risk management by including biological hazards such as epidemics and pandemics in addition to natural hazards as a key area of focus for disaster risk management. The Sendai Framework also places strong emphasis on resilient health systems through integration of disaster risk management into health care provision at all levels. In particular, it aims “to enhance cooperation between health authorities and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen country capacity for disaster risk management for health.”
The International Conference on the Implementation of the Health Aspects of the Sendai Framework (held in Bangkok 2016) resulted in Bangkok Principles, which call for developing or revising multi-sectoral disaster risk reduction plans and policies to include the health sector. It also recommends greater participation of health sector representatives in disaster risk reduction platforms and committees at all levels.
To strengthen systemic planning and coordination, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is issuing guidance notes on integrating risks associated with biological hazards, including pandemics, into: 1) disaster risk reduction planning at the national and local levels, and 2) UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks and Common Country Analysis and plans.
The guidance note will:
1. Provide the analytical basis for identification and analysis of risks associated with biological hazards;
2. Explore and document the interlinkages between biological hazards and diverse socioeconomic sectors to enable prevention and mitigation;
3. Provide policy options and guidance on integrated risk management of biological hazards in line with the Bangkok Principles.
The purpose of the Technical Advisory Document: Integrating Biological Hazards (Including Pandemics) Into DRR Planning is to provide basic review materials to facilitate the development of the guidance document. This document is produced through:
- Reviewing existing guidelines and supporting documents on disaster risk reduction and biological hazards;
- Developing the analytical basis for identifying and mitigating risks associated with biological hazards across diverse sectors based on selected past disasters as well as COVID-19 pandemic.