Geneva – The world is at defining moment in its history, where risks from climate change and growing disaster-related losses require a joint global response, said President Gjorge Ivanov of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who addressed delegates yesterday during the opening ceremony of the Global Platform.
The Global Platform – held in Geneva every two years -- is the world’s main forum for disaster risk reduction, attracting nearly 3,000 participants this year and attended by both the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General. The Platform opened yesterday and ends on Friday, 13 May.
In his statement, President Ivanon acknowledged a direct link between “human misconduct” and the reality of climate change and natural disasters, and that a coordinated approach to disaster risk reduction, to climate change adaptation and sustainable development was needed.
“By supporting development based on moral judgment, knowledge, resilience, prevention and adaptation, we are jointly building a future that will not need an Ark to endure the days of the flood,” he said, referring to the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, a giant boat which provided refuge – the story goes -- to the few remaining living creatures during a massive, worldwide flood. “By planning, supported by the creative guidance of UNISDR, we bring the future into the present so that we now can do something about it.
He said his government had a national approach for tackling disaster risk reduction, through a country-level “National Platform” that integrates different segments of Macedonian society, such as the public and private, academic and business, religious and secular sectors. The country is now chair of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction for 2011, which, with support from the UNISDR Europe Office and others, is working to stimulate and facilitate an exchange of experiences among European nations.
He added that he intended to initiate a Southeast European summit focused on strengthening regional cooperation in disaster risk reduction, when the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia becomes Chair of the Southeast European Cooperation Process from 2012 to 2013.
“I expect that this meeting shall raise regional awareness and responsibility for problems and challenges that recognize no borders, which have implications that more or less are of our common concern,” he stressed. “I expect that the United Nations through its Secretary-General and appropriate bodies will participate at the summit and contribute to this joint effort.”