Kristalina Georgieva recognized as DRR Champion

EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva (left) was recognised today, United Nations Day, as a Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction by UNISDR head Margareta Wahlstrom at a special ceremony in Brussels City Hall. (Photo: UNISDR)
 
By Biljana Markova

BRUSSELS, 24 October 2014 - The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, today called for a change in “the global mind-set towards disaster risk reduction” as she was confirmed as a Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction by UNISDR.

Commissioner Georgieva who will take over as European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, on November 1, said that in a world facing many major crises and emergencies there is a clearly a need to invest more in resilience and risk reduction and “to immunize economies and people’s lives against disasters”.

She also recognized the importance of the last decade of progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global blueprint for disaster risk reduction, agreed in 2005 after the Indian Ocean tsunami. Commissioner Georgieva said that once a revised HFA is adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March next year, risk reduction and resilience need to be embedded into new Sustainable Development Goals.

The award was made on United Nations Day by UNISDR head and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, in recognition of Ms. Georgieva’s work and engagement in building resilience to disasters both within the European Union and across the world.

Ms. Wahlström said: “Commissioner Georgieva has said that resilience is not just a buzzword. Her public advocacy for disaster risk reduction is proof of her strong belief in the merits of building resilience to disasters and her influence has been felt around the world. She has often repeated that development resources need to be focused on countries at high risk from natural hazards and conflict. Her emphasis on investment in disaster preparedness during her time as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response has left a lasting legacy in a number of areas.

“Her achievements in office have been many. If I have to single out any in the context of today’s award, I would highlight in particular the new European Commission civil protection mechanism legislation that, for the first time, includes considerations on disaster risk reduction.

“I would also salute the establishment of an Emergency Response Centre here in Brussels which harnesses the latest technology to ensure early warnings and rapid response to emergencies on behalf of 32 countries including all 28 members of the European Union.

“This focus on pan-European cooperation is also illustrated by European Union support for disaster risk reduction across the western Balkans and Turkey. I am happy to say that this project which just concluded last week at a meeting in Ankara with the beneficiary countries has laid the foundations for the creation of multi-hazard early warning system.

“At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March, 2015, the world will adopt a new post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction something which Commissioner Georgieva has helped to promote across Europe, notably by co-chairing the first-ever European Ministerial Meeting on disaster risk reduction in Milan earlier this year.

“Her support for prioritization of climate and disaster resilience actions in the European public investment agenda, is reflected too in the good news broadcast today that the European Union has agreed on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and to boost the use of renewable energy to 27%.

UNISDR recognizes individuals as Disaster Risk Reduction Champions for using their capacity to advocate for disaster risk reduction in their country, region and beyond. Their motivation often goes beyond professional interest, spurred by a passion for public service and an abiding commitment to build community resilience. It is a non-remunerated honorary position and only the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction may designate a Disaster Risk Reduction Champion.
VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018 VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, Cartagena, Colombia 20-22 June 2018.
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