Americas to meet on disaster risk reduction

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

PANAMA/GENEVA, 22 May 2018: Over a thousand representatives of governments, civil society and the private sector are to meet in Cartagena, Colombia, June 20-22, to discuss the increasing impact of extreme weather events and climate change across the region.

A review of the impact of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season which set new records for damage and loss in the United States and the Caribbean, will be high on the agenda. The region sustained record disaster losses last year estimated at over $300 billion including the Mexican earthquakes.

The Americas is the second most disaster-prone region in the world after Asia-Pacific and was beginning to recover from the 2015-2016 El Niño when it was hit last year by one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Mami Mizutori, said: “The Americas has been very successful in reducing the death tolls from potentially deadly events in recent years but suffers high levels of displacement and economic loss because of both extreme weather and earthquakes such as those suffered recently by Ecuador and Mexico.

"I am pleased to see that the theme for this 6th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas is 'Towards a less vulnerable region with more resilient communities.' Working at the local level is essential if we are to succeed in reducing disaster losses as outlined in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan for reducing disaster losses."

Mr. Carlos Iván Márquez, Director-General of Colombia’s National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, said: “Colombia has aligned its national development plan with the Sendai Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals. We are looking forward to welcoming delegates to Colombia and sharing our experiences including our multi-hazard approach to risk assessment." 

A key area of focus for the Regional Platform will be to meet the 2020 deadline for a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction, as set out in the Sendai Framework.

Mr. Raúl Salazar, head of UNISDR’s Regional Office for the Americas, said: “The Americas is well-placed to increase resilience to disasters at community level.  Most countries in the region have updated national disaster loss databases to guide improvements to their disaster risk management." 

He added: “The region is justifiably proud of the fact that 1,800 cities and towns are participating in UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign. This is a strong launching pad for working on disaster risk management at the community level in a region which has one of the highest urbanization rates in the world.”

A key feature of the Regional Platform will be the High-Level segment where Ministers and other high-level authorities will decide on priorities for embracing disaster risk reduction in the next two years in the Americas region.

The Regional Platform will also feature a market place, side events, and the Ignite Stage, a place where disaster risk managers present innovative tools and initiatives. The Regional Platform will also offer an opportunity for sub-regional intergovernmental groups and stakeholders to interact and strengthen partnerships and share experiences.

Interested parties from across the Americas can also take part in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtags #SendaiAmericas #SendaiFramework


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