Geneva, Switzerland - Today’s observance of World Meteorological Day with its theme of “Climate for You”, highlights the direct link between climate change, weather variability and the increase in the frequency as well as severity of weather related natural hazards.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a strong and active partner of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) whose critical role and work are central to reducing the impact of disasters. These efforts are key contributions to human, social and economic safety. We fully support WMO’s long-term objective: that of halving by 2019, the 1994-2003 ten-year average of deaths caused by disasters of meteorological and hydrological origin.
The risks presented by climate variability as well as the severity and frequency of disaster impacts, are key themes in the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) -- the world’s only blueprint for staving off losses caused by natural hazards. Yet, the earthquakes and floods in Haiti, New Zealand, Pakistan and Australia in 2010 and early 2011, as well as the devastating tsunami in Japan this month, are some recent and harsh reminders of the debilitating effects of disasters on lives and the socio-economic fabric of societies. More is required, for example, in the area of early warning mechanisms and on strengthening national institutions for weather forecasting services.
Our recently launched report, ‘Mid-Term Review of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters’, reviews the last five years' progress on strengthening disaster risk reduction. The report underscores areas where work is most needed to ensure that gains from the past five years translate into substantial reduction of disaster losses in the following five and beyond. The report contains the views of governments themselves, expressed to other governments, about the kinds of immediate actions they and other stakeholders must take to produce tangible progress on the HFA by 2015. We are convinced of the importance of this report, and hope that it will inspire action around the world.
In this context, the Third Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a high-level event scheduled from 8-13 May 2011 (in about 45 days) in Geneva, will actively reach out to a new and diverse range of leaders and decision-makers to stimulate commitment and concrete investment in disaster risk reduction.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
(Photo credit: WMO)