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
We urgently need to accelerate action to reduce the impact of climate-related disasters. The world needs greater investment in climate change adaptation as called for by the Paris Agreement, and in national and local DRR strategies as called for by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Tsunamis remain the deadliest of all sudden onset natural hazards and they expose shortcomings in the built environment with deadly precision and fatal consequences. They are the ultimate test for risk governance and the rigor of DRR strategies when it comes to managing risks that originate in the world’s oceans and threaten the coastlines where 650 million people are exposed to tsunami risk, storms and tidal surges. Rising sea levels and industrial pollution are all contributing to the expansion of the tsunami threat. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction is encouraged by the progress we have seen since the celebration of the first World Tsunami Awareness Day five years ago.
The 7th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean has been a breath of fresh air on the path to building a region that is ready to reduce risk and to avoid the creation of new risk. After four days of enriching conversations and discussions, I am convinced that the region is in good hands. Jamaica, as the first Caribbean host of this gathering, has led the way to ensure the full participation of the region despite the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Americas & the Caribbean have produced some outstanding examples of how strong disaster governance, executed with vision, competence, trust and transparency, can prevent unnecessary loss of life. Furthermore, it is a region that over the last 40 years has actively contributed to the development of the disaster risk reduction conceptual and evidence-based knowledge that shaped important global agreements including the Sendai Framework. The multi-sectorial representation around this table is a reason for hope.
In the past year, we have seen that the political ambition to support vulnerable communities has grown. As an international community we have improved our understanding of the positive impact of pre-arranged risk finance and having anticipatory measures in place in case of disasters. At the same time, we need to push even more for strong implementation and impact, to make this vision of support for vulnerable communities possible.
Investing in reducing disaster and climate risk is vital for the sustainable development and the future resilience of the citizens of SIDS. We must all come together towards implementing the Sendai Framework so that this becomes a reality.