Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, chair of the newly launched Parliamentary Voluntary Support Group for UNISDR in Japan, and Mr. Robert Glasser, head of UNISDR (Photo UNISDR)
By Yuki Matsuoka
Tokyo, 13 April, 2017
- This week saw further strengthening of Japan’s support for disaster risk reduction with the launch of a new non-partisan parliamentarian support group.
Welcoming the move, Mr. Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, said it was further proof of Japan’s commitment to reducing disaster losses at home and abroad.
Speaking at the Inaugural Assembly of the Parliamentary Voluntary Support Group for UNISDR held on 11 April in Tokyo, Japan, Mr. Glasser said that the global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, places “great importance on the role of parliamentarians in supporting the implementation of disaster risk reduction by developing new legislation, or amending existing legislation and setting budget allocations.”
Mr. Glasser stressed that parliamentarians will be among the many stakeholders represented at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction when it convenes in Cancun, Mexico next month, to assess progress on implementation of the Sendai Framework.
On behalf of UNISDR, he expressed his “great appreciation for the creation of your Support Group. Especially, I would like to thank Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party and a Member of the House of Representatives, for his leadership on the disaster risk reduction agenda.
“This is a great opportunity and a critical step for UNISDR, building on the strong base that has been developed over the past two decades during which the UN family has worked closely with Japan to organize all three international conferences on disaster risk reduction, in 1994, in 2005 and in 2015.
“The fact that your country has hosted these three important global meetings sends a strong message to the rest of the international community about Japan’s leadership, and the country’s commitment to disaster risk reduction and to multilateralism.”
Mr. Nikai, who also played a leading role in the establishment of World Tsunami Awareness Day at the UN General Assembly in 2015, was elected as the Chair of the Parliamentarian Voluntary Support Group for UNISDR in Japan. He said: “The cooperation between Japan and UNISDR is critical to further advance disaster risk reduction efforts around the world. We should not let anyone die from disasters”.
Mr. Arata Takebe, a Member of the House of Representatives, who moderated the event, noted: “The significance of this group is non-partisan in order to enhance collaboration between Japan and UNISDR as part of our concerted efforts”.
He noted that 60 parliamentarians had joined the group as of this week. The group includes members of parliament from the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party and the Komeito Party.
The new group is committed to the active development of international cooperation in the field of disaster prevention in collaboration with the United Nations, and working on dissemination and awareness raising activities of disaster prevention that make use of Japan's experience.