J&K LG | No Person Should Die Due to Disaster | Focus on Disaster Risk Reduction As Top Priority In July 2023, the G-20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group convened in Chennai, marking the beginning of a significant global shift toward disaster risk reduction. This shift, culminating in the G-20 Conference in Delhi in September, has now placed disaster risk reduction at the forefront of not only India’s priorities but also those of nations across the Global South and Global North. The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha, emphasized the importance of aligning with the Sendai Framework for strengthening disaster management systems and achieving disaster risk reduction goals. A Visionary Leader’s Legacy: This transformative approach to disaster risk reduction did not happen overnight. LG Sinha highlighted the visionary leadership of India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. He referenced the Prime Minister’s instrumental role during his tenure as Gujarat’s Chief Minister after the devastating Kuchh Earthquake. Under his leadership, Gujarat became the first state in India to adopt the State Disaster Management Act. Subsequently, the Indian government enacted the Disaster Management Act in 2005, laying the foundation for the National Disaster Management Authority. Global Leadership: Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to disaster management went even further. He led the world in establishing an institution dedicated to offering technical support, capacity building, and research in disaster management. This initiative aimed to create resilient infrastructure and prepare nations to face the challenges posed by climate change and unplanned development. Alarming Statistics: The urgency of this shift is underlined by alarming statistics. The Home Ministry of the Government of India reported that, until July 2023, over 1,024 people had lost their lives to natural disasters. More than 4 lakh hectares of crops were destroyed, and around 25,000 animals perished. Additionally, 61,000 houses were damaged, and unseasonal rain and hailstorms severely impacted food production, affecting an estimated 1.25 lakh metric tonnes. Redefined Standards: In response to the growing threat of disasters, changes have been made to both the definition and standards to minimise the loss of life and property. These changes prioritise the development of resilient infrastructure and early warning systems. It is acknowledged that investments in multi-hazard early warning systems are vital to effectively mitigate disasters. Collaborative Efforts: The LG emphasised the need for a collaborative system that encompasses various departments, such as the Meteorological Department, Information Communication, Telecommunication, PWD, Forest, Flood and Irrigation, all of which play critical roles in disaster management. This collaborative approach aims to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster response efforts. Climate and Disaster Resilience: The second crucial focus is the creation of climate and disaster resilient infrastructure. While no one can control natural disasters, their impact can be significantly reduced through preparedness and resilience-building measures. LG Sinha’s goal is to ensure that no lives are lost due to disasters. Proactive Preparedness: The key to achieving this goal is proactive preparedness. Rather than reacting to disasters, the focus is on creating a system that anticipates and addresses potential challenges effectively and efficiently. LG Sinha called for urgent action and cooperation at both the state and national levels to realise this vision of a safer, disaster-resilient India.