UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström told today’s 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction: ‘The outcome of your conference is important for Asia and it is important for the world.’ (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
BANGKOK, 24 June 2014
– The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction today urged the world to recapture the spirit of 2005 when, following the shock of the Indian Ocean tsunami, all UN Member States adopted a comprehensive framework for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action.
In her opening address to the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Margareta Wahlström told 20 government ministers, several top government officials and 2,500 DRR practitioners from 62 countries: “The outcome of your conference is important for Asia and it is important for the world.”
She urged the conference delegates to “seize this opportunity to build on 10 years of determined work” since the establishment of the Hyogo Framework for Action to ensure that the Post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction meets the needs of a new era.
Ms Wahlström looked ahead to next year’s Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan, which will adopt a new framework, and said a decade of experience of “what works” was an excellent basis on which to prepare a renewed vision for more resilient nations and communities.
“We have a great opportunity to build on what we already have achieved. We have significantly increased our knowledge and capacity and now we must continue to show the same determination and consistency as we prepare for Sendai,” said Ms Wahlström, who is also Head of the UN Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
She said the goal should be to prevent the creation of future risk through consistency of policy, cooperation and implementation. “Unless we achieve a reduction in disaster risk it will be very difficult to achieve development that is truly sustainable and inclusive.”
She stressed: "Every part of society that can and wishes to be engaged in building resilience should do so and governments should welcome this mobilisation."
Ms. Wahlstrom said: "The interconnected nature of the world today means that a local disaster can become a global disaster and a global disaster can become a local disaster. On a more positive note it means knowledge and awareness spreads fast both through formal and informal networks."
The Conference is hosted by the Royal Thai Government. In his opening remarks, the Deputy Head of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, said that the Conference presents a great opportunity for us to put forward regional inputs to the global process in shaping the Post-2015 successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action.
The Bangkok Conference will feature four High-Level Round Tables, including ministerial statements on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and priorities for consideration at the World Conference in Sendai.
There are three main themes: enhancing resilience at local levels; resilient public investments; and public-private partnerships for DRR. A series of technical sessions around the same themes will support the political dialogue.