Hundreds of participants committed to reducing disaster risks and losses in Africa will gather in Abuja, Nigeria for the 5th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, May 13–16, 2014. The platform is a multi-stakeholder event that includes high-level government representatives, members of intergovernmental regional organizations, bilateral and multilateral donors, the United Nations, academic and technical institutions, mayors, community leaders, parliamentarians, youth, media and the private sector.

“The platform in Abuja represents a critical period for advancing the disaster risk reduction agenda across Africa and will serve as a pivotal moment to ensure the continent’s position on these matters is well represented,” says Francis Muraya, disaster risk management specialist for the World Bank Africa Disaster Risk Management Group. “At the platform, our team will be presenting specifically on disaster risk financing.”

Organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and under the leadership of African Union Commission (AUC), this event will articulate the position of African leaders on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The framework is the next step following the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), which concludes in 2015. The plan, endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2005, is a comprehensive, globally endorsed approach to reduce disaster losses.

The regional platform provides an opportunity to advance the new framework beyond 2015. During the event, delegates will aim to endorse a common commitment to comprehensively address disaster reduction measures which affect all areas of development. The focus will be on building resilience of African communities in line with sustainable development goals. The efforts leading to an endorsement are being developed under the leadership of the African Union secretariat, known as the Commission. Once an agreement is reached, a declaration will be made during the high-level ministerial segment of the event, which will represent Africa’s position at the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.

An endorsed regional framework would be an important tool for international cooperation on reducing disaster risks by offering a guide to policy makers and an outline of mutually agreed upon steps to help communities across all continents better prepare for and respond to disasters. The 5th Africa Regional Platform for DRR is financially supported through the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction program of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).