The BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have pledged to boost cooperation on disaster management against the backdrop of exacerbating climate change, increasingly frequent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.
They will "strengthen exchange and cooperation on national strategic plans, policies, regulations and standards in the field of disaster risk prevention and mitigation, so as to promote strategic cooperation", according to a joint declaration released after the third Meeting of BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management, which was held virtually on Friday.
Hosted by China's Ministry of Emergency Management, the meeting was themed "Promoting the modernization of the disaster prevention and management capacity, contributing to the high-quality development of BRICS countries".
More high-level visits and experience sharing among management and technical staff will be carried out, it said, as BRICS nations strive to promote cooperation among disaster management agencies, and improve the disaster management capacities of their professionals.
Among the key sectors where BRICS countries plan to increase cooperation are risk monitoring, early warning and assessment, work safety prevention, capacity building for emergency rescue forces and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.
They are also committed to jointly applying for cooperation projects from international organizations and institutions, as well as developing joint research and promoting technological innovations.
Supporting the central role of the United Nations in international cooperation on risk reduction, they will continue to promote the implementation of the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The countries also reaffirmed that they will continue to support and promote exchange and cooperation with other countries and international organizations in the area of disaster management.
In his keynote speech to the meeting, Wang Xiangxi, minister of emergency management, stressed the importance the Chinese government attaches to natural disaster control and its willingness to strengthen cooperation with other BRICS nations on disaster management.
Adhering to a people-centered development philosophy and holding the belief that nothing is more precious than life, China has accelerated efforts to promote the modernization of its emergency management system to curb major accidents, he said.
As influential emerging economies and developing nations, the minister said that BRICS countries all suffer from natural disasters and so there is consensus on multiplying exchange and cooperation to strengthen disaster mitigation capabilities.
Aside from sharing its experience in tackling disasters, China is also willing to boost innovation in the development of emergency management technologies, he noted.
Wang said he looked forward to seeing more in-depth and pragmatic "BRICS Plus" cooperation on disaster management, as joint efforts are made to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and foster a shared global community of development.
Friday's event was the third meeting of BRICS ministers for disaster management. The two previous meetings were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Udaipur, India, both in 2016.