The Second World Congress on Disaster Management was held in Visakhapatnam from 19th - 22nd November, 2015 and approximately thousand disaster management professionals, practitioners comprising of researchers, academicians, defense service personnel, Central & State Govt. authorities, NGOs, multilateral organizations, media, private sector and all other stakeholders working on Disaster Management participated.
The main focus of the Second WCDM was vulnerability reduction, with greater emphasis on capacity development of women, youth, children, disabled, elderly and strengthening inclusive approach. The WCDM was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N. Chandra Babu Naidu, while the Chief Guest of the congress was Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban and Parliamentary Affairs.
Inaugurating the Congress the Hon’ble CM stated that it made perfect sense to host this important congress in the city of Visakhapatnam. The State of Andhra Pradesh as a whole has been vulnerable to natural hazards and cyclones. Exactly a year ago to the congress, Hud-hud cyclone had devastated the city and the neighboring areas in Andhra Pradesh and therefore the best practices shared in the congress will be used to strengthen the state’s administrative capacity.
The Chief Guest, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India, felt happy to note that the Second World Congress on Disaster Management has brought together experts, academicians, scientists, practitioners, vulnerable community representatives and children towards sharing knowledge about the disaster management between number of national and international agencies. To quote, "This is going to enable evolution of better management techniques for disaster prevention, disaster mitigation, disaster preparedness and disaster relief after rehabilitation and reconstruction. This Second World Congress is a platform, a congregation of the people, who assembled for the same purpose. Our focus is disaster risk reduction which includes mitigation too."Unquote
Government of Andhra Pradesh and DMICS had dreamt of this unique occasion to bring all the stakeholders of disaster management, namely, the Central & State Government authorities, practitioners, scientists, researchers and others on a single platform. The Second WCDM had another special feature: “The Children and Youth are given a special space as per the Sendai Framework for DRR.”
The President of DMICS and convener of the Second WCDM, Dr. S. Ananda Babu mentioned that their stance in this endeavour is very clear. “We do not want to be beaten or victimized by disasters. Instead, we are determined to bounce back rapidly.” He stated that the following 4 priorities outlined in Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction on March 18, 2015 are their guiding priorities:
The Second WCDM had 5 Plenary Sessions, 25 Technical and Thematic Sessions. Another unique feature of this Congress was that it made space for Children and Youth to share their experiences and expectations so that they can be brought to the centre stage as future citizens. He concluded by saying that, at the end of the Congress, we would be also promulgating Visakhapatnam Declaration as our commitment to work “Together for a Safer World”.
The Visakhapatnam Declaration
The belief of the second WCDM is to sustain a deep focus on vulnerability reduction and capacity development of women, youth, children, disabled and elderly and to further strengthen inclusive approach.
"Keeping the focus on local realities, the Second WCDM affirms its commitment and resolves to do the following in order to achieve the objectives of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and integration into Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change Adaptation:
“The Second WCDM would like to place on record that devolution of approach to the last level of governance and communities is the key to an innovation in Disaster Management that we wish to deliver upon.”
Local initiatives at preserving the knowledge and history of disasters must be encouraged through concepts like ‘Disaster Museums,’ not only as institutions of history and culture; but also as a space for learning.”
Resolution at the end of the Second WCDM
We, as participants of the Second World Congress on Disaster Management .pledge to commit ourselves to Visakhapatnam Declaration and resolve to undertake steps needed to realize this action agenda.