Days after the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Pam, Islamic Relief is highlighting the limited commitment by world leaders at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan.

Islamic Relief is attending the conference in Sendai and as part of a coalition of around 1,000 non-governmental organisations is pressing for strong agreement on a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of the poorest countries.

An agreement is expected to be signed on Wednesday, but in the draft text, governments are said to have diluted targets at the expense of vulnerable communities and poor people across the globe.

A critical juncture for disaster reduction

Speaking from the conference, Imran Madden, Head of Humanitarian Department for Islamic Relief, said: “This is a critical juncture for the future of disaster reduction, a chance for the international community to commit to decisive and ambitious action to secure a safer world for everyone.

“Strong agreement on meaningful targets, clear commitments, and accountability for producing much-needed outcomes are essential.”

Every country must be accountable for outcomes

The group of NGOs have called for each nation to take responsibility and for accountability to be enshrined within the new disaster risk reduction framework. Failure to do so, they warn, will prevent action from having any positive impact on the world’s poorest people, and will hamper disaster response and resilience-building.

In addition, the interests of marginalised groups – such as children, women, elderly people and disabled people – who often worst affected by disasters, must be at the core of the second Hyogo Framework for Action.

The call comes during the aftermath of Cyclone Pam, as many people in Vanuatu require urgent humanitarian aid and the full extent of the devastation begins to emerge.

Islamic Relief has been responding to disasters around the world for 30 years, and every year we expand our focus on protecting vulnerable communities from the impact of disasters.