DUBROVNIK, 1 October 2012
- Experts from 27 European countries opened three days of discussions today in Croatia on a successor to the world's first global agreement on reducing disaster risk, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities which expires in 2015.
The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, said: "Europe was slow to get started with the disaster risk reduction agenda but this has completely turned around over the last three years with the creation of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction and the establishment of 21 National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction to coordinate disaster management and reduction at national level.
"Europe has a major role to play in shaping the post-2015 international framework agreement on disaster risk reduction and your experience to date of implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action will be vital. The contribution of European countries which have established national disaster loss data bases will be important to increase understanding of how this can lead to more resilient investment and sustainable economic development."
Ms. Wahlström pointed out that Europe's 10-year average of disaster losses totalling US$13.4 billion makes it the third most affected region in the world after the Americas and Asia. Europe is exposed to a wide range of natural hazards such as storms, droughts, heat waves, wild fires, floods, earthquakes, avalanches and landslides.
The Croatian Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Croatian National Platform, Ranko Ostojić, said: "I believe the next two years will see a very important process of defining global directions and methods regarding disaster risk reduction where Europe cannot be a passive observer but, thanks to its capacities, one of the drivers that will put disaster risk reduction in the right direction and make it one of the pillars of the world's growth."
Croatia, the host government, is this year's chair of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction, established in 2009 to ensure coordination among European governments on implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The 3rd session of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction is organized jointly by the Croatian National Protection and Rescue Directorate, the Council of Europe's European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Europe (UNISDR Europe).
The meeting is being attended by country representatives from Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. UNDP, European Commission, Council of Europe and DPPI-SEE are also represented.