Margareta Wahlstrom with H. E. Dr. Fadel Safar Ali Safar, Minister of Public Works and State Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kuwait in 2010
70th Coordination Group Meeting of the Arab Aid Consortium, Kuwait City, Kuwait - Address by Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (check against delivery)
12 March 2012
- Excellencies, Distinguished Representatives, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honoured to have been invited to talk to you today on the occasion of the 70th Coordination Group Meeting of the Arab Aid Consortium, and in celebration of 50 years of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
I would like to thank the Kuwait Fund and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development for their gracious hospitality, and the Arab Aid Consortium Secretariat for inviting me to this gathering. It comes at an opportune moment, at a time when the international community is critically examining domestic and aid financing systems in seeking to fundamentally improve the effectiveness of support to nations' development and growth.
This drive to improve effectiveness, and therefore minimise loss and maximise the return on investment, is focusing increasingly on our understanding of the risks that both public and private sector activities are exposed to, and how we can better manage and reduce these risks.
Disaster risk ranks high in this reflection, which when poorly understood and managed, can have catastrophic consequences on rich and poor countries alike. 2011 was a stark reminder of the vulnerability of modern day society to disasters and a reminder that the impacts of natural catastrophes on people, countries and regions in the short, medium and long term are increasingly global in nature.
With governments in countries at risk leading the way, aided and abetted by the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015
and the work of the UNISDR secretariat and its partners, the management of disaster risk and strengthening nations' resilience are now considered a fundamental part of the 21st century drive for effective societal development.