I express my solidarity with the people of Ukraine and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. This escalating violence -- which is resulting in civilian deaths, including children – is totally unacceptable.
UNDRR advocates for full inclusion of persons with disabilities and their leaders in developing and implementing national and local disaster risk reduction strategies. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction - our guiding document adopted by Member States in 2015 - repeatedly mentions their involvement. While much has been achieved, much more still needs to be done.
As many of you know, the work of UNDRR is guided by this global blueprint for risk reduction and resilience adopted unanimously by all Member States in 2015. With the changing face of risk as the back drop, the Mid-term Review of the Sendai Framework is underway, and the timing could not be better. Not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also the climate emergency is making clear that shocks from disasters cannot be substantially reduced unless the dynamic and systemic nature of risk is better understood.
In the last few years, our world has been pummeled by a disease we were not prepared for, in spite of the fact that in 2015 when UN member states came together to negotiate and agree on the global blue print for disaster risk reduction and resilience, the Sendai Framework for DRR, biological hazards were incorporated as the next big hazard we need to protect ourselves from. COVID-19 has left hardly anyone or any aspect of our lives untouched. Losing loved ones, becoming ill, struggling with isolation, loss of livelihoods and changing social norms.
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.