Scaled-up, effective international partnerships that strengthen disaster and climate resilience, such as MCR2030, add immense value. They help cities protect hard-earned development gains, save lives and livelihoods, and keep people out of poverty. We want to encourage more cities to join MCR2030, as well as more service providers to be part of this endeavour so that we can achieve SDG11 by 2030.
Our most precious natural resource is all around us; it’s in our homes and places of work… usually not more than an arms-length away. Essential to our being, water is a human right. And yet when linked with disasters or hazards, we are often at water’s mercy. It is clear that water-related hazards are a threat on the rise. In the last fifty years, climate-related hazards, including those linked to water - floods, landslides, tsunamis, storms, and droughts – have been growing in both frequency and intensity. The damage has been profound. Floods alone have amounted to economic losses of US$ 115 billion, while droughts resulted in 650,000 deaths. As a warming climate intensifies the water cycle, more intense droughts, rainfall and flooding are inevitable.
The Caribbean region is not only one of the most beautiful in the world, it is also one of the most disaster-prone. Three out of the ten countries most affected by extreme weather events in the last 20 years are in the Caribbean. Recent hurricanes from 2017 and 2019 - Irma, Maria, and Dorian - devastated national infrastructure across ten Caribbean islands. As a cluster of small island developing states (SIDS), the overwhelming majority of the region’s disasters are water or climate-related. And we know that the weather-related challenges facing SIDS are not expected to recede anytime soon.
From the perspective of disaster risk reduction, which is a main theme of this conference, and from that of my agency, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the concern about the risks posed by water-related hazards is increasing to say the least. There is no doubt that water-related hazards, too much or too less, are growing in intensity and frequency.
In 2022, 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance around the world. Mami Mizutori, SRSG and Head of UNDRR, calls on countries to increase investment in disaster preparedness and prevention to save lives.
Today we conclude the Fifth Arab Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. For four days and throughout 25 sessions, 16 countries and more than 100 experts and 500 participants gathered in a ministerial-level, multi-stakeholder, inclusive, innovative, and interactive platform. Thank you again to our host, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco. I also extend our appreciation to the League of Arab States, who organized this event with the UNDRR Regional Office for Arab States.
Africa has often been called a “continent on the move” and this is especially true for West Africa, which is one of the most mobile regions in the world. More than 50% of global migration flows from the West African and Sahel countries. At the same time, people are very much reliant on rain-fed agriculture. This makes the region highly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming, including droughts and flooding.
Small island developing States are at the forefront of the climate emergency and suffer from “double exposure” to both economic and environmental shocks. If the world’s future is uncertain, then the future of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is only m