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Campaign Launch
Davos, 25 January 2008

The Davos launch of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign: Hospitals Safe from Disasters, brought together inspirational and dedicated leaders from the world of politics, business, health, research, development, and disaster risk reduction, to advocate for how we all can work to reduce risk, protect health facilities, and save lives.

Chaired and introduced by John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, the panel included WHO ADG Dr Ala Alwan, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Mary Robinson, Richard Newfarmer of the World Bank, Walter Fust of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Walter Ammann of the IDRC and Global Risk Forum GRF Davos.

The event organizers were the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), the World Health Organization, and the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, with support from the World Bank.

Below: Video interviews with panellists, footage of each panellist's intervention, and more information about the panellists.


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John Holmes
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
Video of panel intervention

John Holmes has served since January 2007 as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Prior to joining the United Nations, he was the British Ambassador to France. A career diplomat, he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1973, and has since served in a wide range of roles, including extensive experience in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and the former Soviet bloc. He has served as Private Secretary to the British Prime Minister under several administrations during the 1990s. He was also the British G8 Sherpa during this time, including the British G8 Presidency of 1998. He was knighted in 1999, primarily for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Ala Alwan
Former Assistant Director General / Health Action in Crises, World Health Organization
Video of panel intervention

Dr Alwan has been Assistant Director General/ Health Action in Crises, WHO since 2005. Previously, he served as Minister of Education and Minister of Health in the Government of Iraq, 2003-2005, and has had a long career in the WHO, having served as WHO Representative in Oman, as Director, Division of Health Systems Development in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, as Director for Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention, and as Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases Management. In 2001, he became the WHO Representative in Jordan. In Iraq, his home country, he has also held several positions in clinical and academic medicine and public health, including Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Mustansiriya University, Baghdad.

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Zahra Aga Khan
Head of the Social Welfare Department, Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan
Video of panel intervention

Princess Zahra Aga Khan, the eldest child of His Highness the Aga Khan, is the head of the Social Welfare Department of the Secretariat of His Highness at Aiglemont, in Gouvieux, France. She has policy and management responsibility for the health, education and planning and building services of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), and holds a key role in policy and strategy for the Network’s other social development institutions, including for the fifteen countries in which the Network operates. Princess Zahra is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University, and works with institutions supported by the Ismaili Muslim community in the areas of social welfare, women’s activities and youth programmes.


Her Excellency
Mary Robinson
Video of panel intervention

Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She has been Honorary President of Oxfam International since 2002, is Chair of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and is also a founding member and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. She is also a member of The Elders. Ms Robinson has been President of Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative since 2002. She is Vice-Chair of the GAVI board. Since 2004, she has also been Professor of Practice in International Affairs at Columbia University.

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Richard Newfarmer
The World Bank’s Special Representative to the UN and WTO in Geneva
Video of panel intervention

Richard Newfarmer is the World Bank’s Special Representative to the UN and the WTO in Geneva. He has been lead author of Global Economic Prospects 2007: Managing the Next Wave of Globalization, among other major World Bank reports. He recently edited Trade, Doha and Development and has published articles in the Journal of World Trade, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Journal of Development Economics and Foreign Policy. He has had extensive experience in China, East Asia and Latin America within the World Bank. He is currently serving on the WTO’s Advisory Committee for Aid for Trade, and has in the past worked on advisory committees for the Commission on Environment Cooperation for NAFTA and the Center for Global Development.


Walter Fust
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Video of panel intervention

Walter Fust has been Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) since September 1993, and is Chairman of the Board of the Global Knowledge Partnership, as well as responsible for the Swiss Response and Disaster Relief. He a Steering Committee member of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development and the Development Gateway Foundation, and is on the Board of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) in Geneva. He has served Switzerland as a diplomat in Berne, Geneva, Baghdad, and Tokyo, and in government as deputy head of the Integration Office, as personal advisor to the Minister of Public Economy and the President, as managing director of the Swiss Office for Trade Promotion, and as Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior.


Walter J. Ammann
Global Risk Forum
GRF Davos
Video of panel intervention

Walter J. Ammann is the Founder and General Director of the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos which includes the Risk Academy Davos, a Center for web-based risk platforms and the International Disaster Reduction Center (IDRC) Conferences. His background is originally in earthquake engineering, including private sector construction technology. He was director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos and Deputy Director of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL in Birmensdorf. He is a Board Member of the Austrian Research Centers, President of the Swiss Institute for Allergy and Asthma Research and the World Radiation Center, both in Davos, and Chairman of IDRC Davos 2008.

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