Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk reduction, Indonesia - Closing Address by Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (check against delivery)
Excellencies, Ministers of Asia and the Pacific countries,
Honorable Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta,
Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives of United Nations Agencies and International Organizations,
Distinguished Delegates and Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by offering my sincere thanks to President Yudhoyono and the Government of Indonesia, the National Agency for Disaster Management, BNPB, and the Provincial Government of Yogyakarta Special Region, for making this 5th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction such an outstanding success. I would also like to specially thank the Governor of the Special Regional of Yogyakarta for hosting the dinner on the day of the opening ceremony and making this wonderful venue available to us.
We could not have asked for better collaborators in the organization of this event. On the one hand, a provincial government which knows from recent tragic events why it is so important to strengthen local capacity for disaster risk reduction.
And on the other, the BNPB which over four short years has become model of how disaster management can get the balance right between response and risk reduction.
I am sure I speak for everyone when I say we greatly appreciate the efforts of all those who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that this conference has been both a logistical triumph and a memorable milestone on the road towards developing the post-2015 development agenda.
President Yudhoyono reminded us on Tuesday that, according to the country's innovative Disaster Risk Index, 396 districts out of 494 districts are situated in high-risk zones.
This degree of risk mapping and familiarity with exposure at local level is something which the rest of the world can learn from.
The challenges the BNPB face are enormous and I hope many of you had the opportunity to find out more about their work in your visits to the excellent market-place which has been such a strong feature of this Ministerial Conference showcasing the efforts of a wide range of actors in the disaster risk reduction domain.
This has been a very successful event. We had a record attendance of 2,600 participants from 72 countries around the world. We have been honored with the presence of two heads of State, the Presidents of Indonesia and Nauru, and high-level delegations from 50 countries across the region which included 24 government ministers.
We have also seen a trend-setting breakthrough at this regional event. For the first time, we have welcomed children, the private sector, the disabled, parliamentarians and representatives of local government as full participants in a major regional conference thereby ensuring a rich debate as we focus on the creation of a new international framework on disaster risk reduction to replace the existing Hyogo Framework for Action by 2015.
We also have to thank both Indonesia and the Philippines for agreeing this week to put their National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction forward for assessment as we seek ways to strengthen the 81 National Platforms around the world and find the right balance in terms of membership and action for resilience.
The Yogyakarta Declaration which we have issued today is the first major high-level statement since consultations got underway earlier this year on the replacement of the Hyogo Framework for Action which has served us well for the last eights years but which is due to expire in 2015.
This declaration is also a first because of the accompanying declaration of commitments by all the stakeholder groups. I am pleased to take note of these commitments for follow-up action and their calls for support from UNISDR.
The Yogyakarta Declaration will be read with enormous interest around the world as we prepare for the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May next year.
It marks the beginning of a process which is now underway in true earnest: the creation of a new framework for disaster risk reduction which will be fit for purpose in an era where we can expect more extreme weather events and where many governments around the world will struggle with exposure to risks from floods, earthquakes and other hazards exacerbated by climate change.
Many of you feel that the priorities for action of the Hyogo Framework for Action will still be valid in two years time and I agree. However, there is no doubt that the world is changing in ways that were not fully appreciated seven years ago. Population growth, rapid urbanization, industrial development, environmental degradation and climate change are all driving risk to an unprecedented degree.
We face a significant challenge if we are to reverse the upward trend in disaster losses and to protect lives, jobs, homes, schools, health facilities and public transport.
What has emerged this week is a clear appreciation from you of the benefits of having an international agreement on disaster risk reduction. Indonesia is not the only country in the region for which the Hyogo Framework for Action has become a central pillar of its national development strategy.
Those countries which demonstrate leadership and political commitment on disaster risk reduction are the ones whose disaster management capacities are now among the best in the world. They are on the way to building disaster resilient communities at local level and they apply a consistently open approach inviting all stakeholders to contribute and become active.
It is clear that such an inclusive, multi-stakeholder, bottom-up approach must also inform any new agreement.
Other lessons learned for the future include:
The value of accountability for more effective implementation;
The value of accountability allocation of resources to build local capacity;
Letting the evidence on disaster risk and economic impact guide investments in disaster resilient infrastructure;
And last, but not least, improved governance with well-defined roles and responsibilities;
We also have a clear understanding of the milestones on the road ahead as we look to the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which will take place in Japan in 2015. The next major opportunity to take stock of our progress in developing a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action will be the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2013.
This will be followed by the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the 3rd Small Island Developing States Global Conference in 2014.
All this activity will help to set the stage for the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan which is expected to adopt the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction which will incorporate many of the ideas and insights which you have expressed here this week and follow on from the Hyogo Framework for Action.
Thank you for all your efforts and active contributions to this conference. I am already looking forward to the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.