RP17 Report - Short Video Series

What is the RP17 Report – Short Video Series with Jamie Tomlinson


Hi, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

What is the RP17 Report – Short Video Series?

  • RP17 hosted by the Government of Canada in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
  • We will capture via video and  twitter important moments during the RP17, including:
    • Explaining what RP17 is and its importance,
    • announcements made during RP17,
    • Women that play a key role in DRR given that it's International Women's Day on March 8th
    • Key outcomes of RP17.
  • We encourage you to follow the conversation during the following three days using the hashtags:
  • We encourage you to view via webcast by accessing the eird.org website Don't miss our next video!

RP17 and what's happening over the coming three days with Stéphanie Durand


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): With me now is Stephanie Durand, acting assistant deputy minister of the Emergency Management and Programs Branch at Public Safety Canada.

Stephanie, thanks for being with us. Lots going on. We're getting very close to the start of the conference. Can you just tell us a little bit about RP17 and what's going to happen?

STEPHANIE DURAND (Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, Public Safety Canada): I'm happy to. Well, as you can tell, lots of set-up is taking place. We are awaiting the arrival of over a thousand participants from 35 countries and 20 territories from the Americas.

And we're just so thrilled to have and to host this event for Disaster Risk Reduction for the Americas.

TOMLINSON: Well that's terrific. And can you tell us what are some of the activities to expect over the next few days?

DURAND: I'm happy to. Well the event is over three days.

We are having the opening ceremony tomorrow where I will be very excited to have an indigenous community's component. There'll be elders coming in that will be drummed in.

We will have Minister Goodale also offer opening remarks, and a range of impressive and exciting speakers will take part in the event over the next three days.

TOMLINSON: And are there other activities going on that you can tell us about?

DURAND: Absolutely. So in addition to the plenary sessions and the three parallel sessions that will take place over the course of the event, we also have a very, I would say, diverse marketplace where there'll be exhibitors from tourism products, Quebec products, federal departments...

As well, something not to be missed, USAR teams will be here and there will be a dog handler and a dog. So, again, activities not to be missed.

As well, I will just say that while we're having the activity here at the Palais des congrès there also is an open forum taking place at various Montreal universities, as well as an IGNITE Stage where individuals will be showcasing and presenting some of their exciting projects involved in Disaster Risk Reduction.

So lots of activities. We're quite excited. And it's about to begin tomorrow.

TOMLINSON: Stephanie, it sounds like a wonderful time. Thank you so much for joining us live from RP17 in Montreal. I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

Flood plain mapping in Canada with Lori MacDonald


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): With me now is Lori MacDonald, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Emergency Management and Programs Branch at Public Safety Canada. Lori, thanks so much for spending a bit of time with us.

LORI MACDONALD (Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, Public Safety Canada): A pleasure to be here.

TOMLINSON: Great. Now, Lori, this morning in his opening remarks to the Regional Platform, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale talked about how in Canada overland flooding has become Canada's most costliest disaster and a situation that we need to deal with. The Minister went on to talk about the Federal Flooding Map Plain Framework (sic). Can you tell us a little bit about the framework?

MACDONALD: Sure. We're actually very excited that the Minister announced that today. It's a set of evergreen guidelines to really give some tools and resources to provinces and territories, stakeholders, Canadians, interested partners with respect to how do we appropriately plan for, prepare for incidents, including how do we think about managing flood plain mapping in Canada.

TOMLINSON: Terrific. And what are the benefits to Canadians?

MACDONALD: Many, many benefits to Canadians, everything from urban planning to being prepared, preventative measures with respect to flooding, but also thinking about it from a mitigation perspective. How do we actually mitigate in Canada to save lives, reduce costs on economy, reduce losses, but then also make sure that we're actually positively impacting our economy, our country, and keeping Canadians safe. So many, many benefits for Canadians.

TOMLINSON: And, Lori, one last question.
TOMLINSON: It's actually amazing having the Regional Platform…
TOMLINSON: ... here in Canada with the United Nations.
TOMLINSON: Here we are, midway through day one. What are your impressions so far?

MACDONALD: It's great. There's a great energy in the room, great buzz in the air. People are really happy to come together to talk about those issues that they're worried about from a disaster risk reduction. People are concerned about climate change. They're concerned about what's happening in our world with respect to disasters. So people are happy to be here. They're encouraged, they're inspired and they're really having great conversations about how do we actually improve our world.

TOMLINSON: Terrific. Thanks so much for your time, Lori.
MACDONALD: Thank you.
TOMLINSON: From the Regional Platform in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

Become a Youth Change Agent with Tiffany Hill


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): In the lead-up to RP17, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction invited youth from across the Americas to participate in a youth video challenge and become a disaster risk reduction change agent. One of the videos submitted was by Tiffany Hill, of Victoria, British Columbia. Tiffany, thanks so much for joining us and congratulations on your video. I've seen it on YouTube. It's absolutely fantastic.

TIFFANY HILL (Youth from Victoria, British Columbia): Thank you for having me.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: Well, great to see you. Maybe a good place to start, what inspired you to produce the video that you submitted?

TIFFANY HILL: Honestly, I think the call-out to what it means to be a change agent was kind of what inspired me and to me, you know, being a change agent is about doing things differently. It's about exploring what is possible and to really standing up for what you believe in. And that's kind of what I decided to be a part of this and to talk about youth engagement and why it's important to include youth in the dialogue around disaster risk reduction and in the Sendai Framework in spaces like this and beyond.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: So what does it mean to you to be a change agent?

TIFFANY HILL: What does it mean to me? Honestly, I… to create real change, I think we really need to stop approaching the same problems with the same solutions. We need to look at it differently and frame things differently because, let's face it, what we've been doing isn't working.

So how do we show up and explore what's possible, because I for one, I care about my home, I care about this planet, and I know I'm not alone in that. So how do we do that?

JAMIE TOMLINSON: That care really came through in your video. I really have to say that. And one last question, Tiffany, if I could. As we've… and that was a great message and your care for the planet and what you just said in your last answer really comes through in your video. As we talk to youth across the Americas, is there a message that you'd like to share with them?

TIFFANY HILL: There is a message, and I think … I think we already know it's important to involve young people in this platform, in disaster risk reduction. They're passionate, interested and can come up with creative and innovative solutions to complex problems.

And whether or not we like it, young people have an investment in reducing risks and impacts of disasters because we're living in it, you know. So here is an opportunity. Meaningfully engage young people in the conversations and in the decisions about how to address these risks.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Terrific. Tiffany Hill, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for being with us. Congratulations again on your video.
TIFFANY HILL: Thank you.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: From RP17 in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

TIFFANY HILL: One more thing. I work for the Resilience by Design Research Lab at Royal Roads University in Victoria, and I just want to say reach out because we work with young people on meaningful engagement and what that really looks like.

Empowerment of Women and Girls and Gender Equality in Disaster Risk Reduction with Melanie Goodchild


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): We're at day two here at the Regional Platform of the Americas and it's very appropriate on this International Women's Day, one of the key sessions from this morning focused on the empowerment of women and girls and gender equality as we look at disaster risk reduction. The moderator for this morning's discussion is my guest right now. Melanie Goodchild is from the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience. Melanie, happy International Women's Day to you.

MELANIE GOODCHILD (Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience): Thank you very much.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: Thank you so much for being with us.
MELANIE GOODCHILD: Yes, my pleasure.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: It was an absolutely fascinating discussion this morning with a very strong panel and really looking at a very broad range of issues, from how our policies and legislation reflect gender equity, to the very practical considerations as we heard the stories and personal experience of people in Haiti supporting those citizens recovering from Hurricane Matthew. I wonder, as you were kind of listening and participating in the discussion this morning, what were some of the things that you take away from that session?

MELANIE GOODCHILD: Well, I think the range of experience of the panellists, while they were all women, they spoke from a grassroots perspective, they spoke from a national or a regional perspective and they really exemplified the diversity of experience.

And when we talk about gender, not to think of it in just one way but to think about gender equality, to think about women's rights, but the panellists from Turks and Caicos spoke about how women do take a leadership role in disaster risk reduction, and that we always have to remember balance.

And so they really… I think all of us -- and this is a reflection that I took -- is they talked about balance. It wasn't that you prioritized the rights of one group over another, it's that you find a balance and you seek justice and you design for justice.

MELANIE GOODCHILD: Right, exactly.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: And I guess, secondly, coming out of this morning's session, what do you think the message is to the Americas as we leave this place and kind of continue the conversation?

MELANIE GOODCHILD: I think a strong message from many of the panellists this morning was to ensure that there is a voice for women in all phases of disaster risk reduction and that at all levels and all platforms, that there… if it's not naturally happening, that you design and ensure that the voices of women from the grassroots level to the levels of government and policy, to the people who are writing policy, that there is the voice of women, the perspective of women, and so that we understand and we're not leaving anybody out of those important decisions.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Terrific. Melanie Goodchild, thank you so much for taking some time with us today, and I appreciate that. And enjoy the rest of the conference.
MELANIE GOODCHILD: Thank you very much. Thanks.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: From RP17 in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

Communicating Disaster Risk with Chris St. Clair of The Weather Network


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): It's just human nature that when people get together they often like to talk about the weather. And who better to chat about the weather than one of Canada's foremost weather presenters, Mr. Chris St. Clair of The Weather Network. First, good morning.

CHRIS ST. CLAIR (The Weather Network): Good morning. It's nice to be here. We were talking yesterday about just the year that we've had, even just geographically in eastern North America, and I was talking to you about the travels that I'd done, and I'd been to two blizzards in Atlantic Canada that were somewhat paralytic as blizzards can be.

And then I was in Fort McMurray for the fires there and I mean, that was the penultimate story in Canada last year, just in the impact that it had not only on the people who live there, the ecosystems around Fort McMurray, but even the economy, for the country and for Alberta.

And then not long after that, we had, you know, thunderstorms in the summers. And actually, one of our storm hunters was in the Windsor area, and even prior to the issuance of any warnings or anything, had actually seen tornadoes start to develop and alerted Environment Canada so that the warnings could get out in the most timely fashion possible.

And then we were travelling in Florida for Matthew, which was a devastating storm. And Matthew was a really interesting storm, when you think about the scope of damage and the geography that it covered. You know, it did $2.7 billion damage in… just in Haiti.

And then you look at the damage in the Bahamas and the once-in-a-lifetime flooding which is, you know, becoming way more frequent in the southeastern United States, but then it continued up the East Coast and it caused exceptional flooding in Cape Breton in Canada.

So you look at that storm that ran over a 2-2½ week period and the scope of damage it did, and we're only like eight months in to 2016 and just in one geographic area the damage. So that's why events like this are so important.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Well, and that's an excellent point and kind of speaks to extreme weather becoming more frequent, more severe. And so by extension, what's our collective role, do you think, in terms of communicating to citizens and communicating to communities and collectively kind of reducing disaster risk, which is what we're about this week?

CHRIS ST. CLAIR: Yeah, and what's really neat is that the way people are thinking has evolved and changed so much and now the partnerships between the government agencies and the private sector are much more intermeshed than they ever were before. And I think that's the future.

I know that at The Weather Network, we run the national alerting system, which means if there is a, you know, a situation like Lac Mégantic ever again, if there is tornadoes, we make sure that those warnings are disseminated to everybody on all forms of media in Canada.

When warnings come in from the government or anybody, we make sure that the word gets out. And that's one step is at least letting people know when something is imminent. But what's really important is what's happening here is how to make sure that we mitigate the losses that all of those disasters present for us.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Great. Chris, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you taking a few moments with us, and enjoy the rest of the conference.
CHRIS ST. CLAIR: Well, thank you very much. Nice to be here.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: Thank you. From RP17 in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) with Sue Henry


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): With me now is Sue Henry, Deputy Chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, and Deputy Commander of Canada Task Force 2. We're also with Kit Hoffer (ph), from the K9 Handler of Canada Task Force 2, and we're with Bailey, also of Canada Task Force 2. Sue, thanks so much for being with us and taking a bit of time to chat with us today.

SUE HENRY (Deputy Chief, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, and Deputy Commander of Canada Task Force 2): Thanks for having us.
TOMLINSON: Wonderful to have you here at RP17. Maybe if we could talk a little bit about HUSAR, and if you could describe the work of HUSAR in Canada and a little bit about Canada Task Force 2.

SUE HENRY: You bet. So there's currently five HUSAR teams across the country. It's Heavy Urban Search and Rescue teams that are also designed and configured for all hazards disaster response.

So Canada Task Force 2 particularly is out of Calgary, Alberta, and we've got a great partnership with our provincial agency, the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, as well as Public Safety Canada to ensure that we have wide scale disaster response within Alberta and the ability to back up the other four teams.

Canada Task Force 2 has been fortunate to deploy to a number of events and most recently spent some time in Fort McMurray in Alberta to assist there.

TOMLINSON: Maybe we could turn to the work of Kit and Bailey. And Kit, thanks so much for joining us.
KIT HOFFER (K9 Handler, Canada Task Force 2): Yes, a pleasure to be here. Thank you very much for having us.
TOMLINSON: How long has Bailey been a member of the team?

KIT HOFFER: She's been a member of the team now for about three years. It takes us about 18 months to get the dogs up to certified standard to deploy. And she's four, just over four-years-old, and she's a female border collie.

TOMLINSON: And describe to us if you could the work that Bailey does when she arrives at a scene.

KIT HOFFER: Yeah, so Bailey is a Heavy Urban Search and Rescue dog. Bailey's job is to be part of that initial team that goes in when we get on scene for any of these major disasters, building collapses, that sort of thing.

And we send Bailey in to try and find live humans, people that we can devote the rescue resources to.

TOMLINSON: Amazing. I'm sure Bailey has faced a myriad of situations.

KIT HOFFER: Yes, it's challenging work for dogs for sure, but they can do a lot of things that we can't, and with that nose, which is an instrument in of itself, it's amazing how fast they can clear a building for us. And clearing a building for us is as important as finding somebody.

TOMLINSON: I'm sure.
KIT HOFFER: Because then we don't have to devote the rescue resources.

TOMLINSON: Right. And how long a career would a dog like Bailey look forward to?

KIT HOFFER: Well, I hope, fingers crossed, that Bailey has a long career. A dog that's searched 9/11 just retired in 2015. That was a border collie. Typically, the smaller breeds like the border collies would have a longer working life. The larger breeds -- we have lots of German shepherds and Labrador retrievers -- the larger breeds typically eight or ten years is a good search life. I would hope Bailey does 10 or 12 and who knows? Maybe longer.

TOMLINSON: Well, we hope the three of you have long and prosperous… although we hope that you have quiet careers, but we're certainly glad that you do the work that you do and, again, much appreciated. Thanks so much for spending some time with us.

KIT HOFFER: Thank you very much for your interest in our Canadian Task Forces.
TOMLINSON: Thank you. From RP17 in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

Reflecting Back with Lori MacDonald and Ricardo Mena


JAMIE TOMLINSON (Public Safety Canada): We're at the end of the Regional Platform 2017 in Montreal. We're ready to wrap up, but before we do, we're going to have a quick conversation with a couple of very important people over the last few days. I'm joined right now by Lori MacDonald, from Public Safety Canada, and Ricardo Mena, from the UNISDR Regional Office for the Americas. Thank you so much for joining us and spending a bit of time with us.

LORI MACDONALD (Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, Public Safety Canada): Thank you, Jamie.
RICARDO MENA (Head, Regional Office for the Americas, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - UNISDR): Thank you. A pleasure.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Mr. Mena, maybe I'll start with you, and as we reflect back on the last couple of days and the discussions, could you relate for us RP17 and the Sendai Framework?

RICARDO MENA: Well, this was the first time that the region met after the Global Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction adopted the Sendai Framework.

So it was a great occasion to have a great number of leaders from the entire region from the Americas to discuss about the implementation of the Sendai Framework and also to learn from each other what's working and what are the challenges so that they can emphasize on those aspects.

A great meeting, Canada has raised the bar quite high and we are very happy and thankful for Canada hosting this session, and with a great outcome as well. I'm sure that Lori will discuss later on about the outcome of the conference.

But we are very pleased and we had here a group of representatives of governments, of civil society organizations, the private sector, the academic sector, indigenous organizations, women's organizations. So all the stakeholders dealing with disaster risk reduction in the Americas, the key leaders in this area, were in this session.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Thank you. Lori, maybe to pick up on Mr. Mena's last point that the presence of key leaders. Of course, day three was highlighted by the meeting of ministers and high level authorities, and one of the key pieces of their discussions was the Regional Action Plan. Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about that?

LORI MACDONALD: Great. Thanks, Jamie. Yes, just to build on Ricardo's comments, we've actually been working on the action plan, talking about it for the past year from a meeting that we had last June actually in Paraguay when we started this conversation, we announced that Canada was going to host the Regional Platform here in Montreal this year.

And over the course of several months we've talked with a number of countries about how do we actually create a plan that would really help move forward the Sendai Framework from a Regional Action Plan perspective?

So over the course of the past couple of days, as Ricardo said, we've had many, many very encouraging, inspiring people here talking to us about everything from disaster risk reduction to environment and climate change, to the importance of women and children and youth with respect to disaster risk reduction...

...and really bringing all the countries together to talk about the things that we need to do globally as the Americas, as our individual countries to develop an action plan that really supports that Sendai Framework.

So we've worked hard, we've had long hours of conversation, we've taken into consideration a number of really key issues that are important to supporting, encouraging, facilitating countries to actually implement some of these key actions that will actually promote what we want to do, which is save lives, save livelihoods, reduce damages, keep people safe, and really make our world a safer place.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Absolutely. Lori, you mentioned sort of the hard work and productive discussions.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: I would be remiss if I let you both go without asking you to share your thoughts and what you'll take away from the last three days here in Montreal. Perhaps, Mr. Mena, we'll start with you.

RICARDO MENA: Yeah, well I think that we have now an action plan that of course sets the route where we need to be going in the next period until we have a new regional platform.

And, of course, one important aspect will be to monitor on the implementation of the action plan and being able to also report back on what has been achieved as we move on in this 2030 mark that the Sendai Framework has established. So I think that's one of the main takes out of the platform.

In addition to what I say, the excellent hospitality that Canada has shown in these past few days to all the delegates, setting the bar quite high.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Thank you. Lori?

LORI MACDONALD: Yeah, I'll just say, you know, it's been such a pleasure to host this conference with respect to bringing so many experts together of all walks of life into this one arena who clearly have a passion for making a difference in our world.

And Canada is just so pleased to be able to be not only a host to that but to support those kinds of concepts going forward.

So as we work over the next couple of months to support not only the action plan but our colleagues in Mexico who are getting ready for the global platform, Canada will also play an important role in terms of supporting them.

And then as we move forward over the next two years to the next regional platform and the work, as Ricardo says, that we've done and will be doing with respect to the Regional Action Plan.

So the energy in the room, the conversation, the vibe, the true sense of wanting to make a difference -- it has been I think the forefront of this conference.

JAMIE TOMLINSON: Wonderful. Thank you both very much for your time. We very much appreciate it.
RICARDO MENA: Thank you.
JAMIE TOMLINSON: From RP17 in Montreal, I'm Jamie Tomlinson, Public Safety Canada.

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