By Andy McElroy

UN Secretary-General urges action to reduce disaster risk

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued a call for action “to save lives, preserve livelihoods and reduce economic losses” as negotiations progress towards a new agreement on disaster and climate risk management.

17 noviembre 2014 | Publicado : 10:07 (17/11/2014) | Actualizado: 10:30 (17/11/2014)

“Natural hazards and climate risk can take a potentially enormous toll on our societies if countries do not agree on wise, action-oriented measures to save lives, preserve livelihoods and reduce economic losses,” the UN Secretary-General said.

His remarks came in a statement read out by the Acting Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Mr Michael Möller, to 1,300 participants at the start of today’s Second Preparatory Committee for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction must take up where the Hyogo Framework for Action leaves off, providing the world with the necessary tools and guidance to reduce risk levels and avoid new dangers,” the UN Secretary-General said.

“This will be important to our broader development efforts as the world strives next year to adopt a new universal climate agreement and a set of sustainable development goals.”

One hundred and fifty Member UN states, representatives from inter-governmental organisations and various UN entities, NGOs and civil society are meeting almost ten years after the Hyogo Framework was adopted following the Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 220,000 people.

The Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015) – Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters has been under revision for over two years based on the experience of trying to reduce disaster losses over the last decade.

The Committee is meeting today and tomorrow to negotiate the text of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction under co-Chairs, Ambassador Päivi Kairamo of Finland and Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi of Thailand.

Ahead of the Committee opening, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, said: “The revised Hyogo Framework will be our guide for the next twenty years and will complement and support new agreements on sustainable development and climate while will also be put in place next year.”

The post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction will be adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which will convene in Sendai, Japan, from March 14 to 18, 2015.

Kenichi Sudanuma, Japan’s Ambassador in charge of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, speaking to the Zero Draft of the post-2015 framework Japan attaches importance to the role of central government, investment in disaster prevention and mitigation, and the policy of ‘build back better’.

Mr. Sudanuma also asked for the cooperation of member States in finalizing a concise Political Declaration. He said: “Since many high level figures from the member states are expected to participate in WCDRR, Japan, as a facilitator, aims to summarize their political determination toward DRR into a concise and impactful document.”

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