Regional Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction for implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Regional Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction for implementation

of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030


21 August 2019

Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Opening Ceremony Remarks

Ms. Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk

Reduction and Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction


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Your Excellency Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda,

Representatives of Member States,

Distinguished Delegates,

It is a pleasure to be here today in Dushanbe to address you at this Opening Ceremony for this Conference on implementation of the Sendai Framework.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Government of Tajikistan for organizing and hosting this unique event for countries in the region that are among the most disaster affected in the world and where climate change is ramping up levels of risk to unprecedented levels.

The world looks to the countries present today for this kind of leadership in reducing disaster risk because it is on the front line of extreme weather events, and also prone to earthquake and tsunami risk, on a scale that is unmatched by any other region. This exacerbates the additional risk of “Natech” accidents, where natural hazards impact on key installations causing fires or release of toxic materials.

Globally, disasters push 26 million people into poverty every year and deprive them of the income they need to access health care and send their children to school.

The recent IPCC report on land use and climate change makes clear that it will be impossible to make progress on eradicating hunger in low income countries, because of reduced access to food, if we do not see coordinated action to address climate change and manage disaster risk.

This Conference can help to encourage countries across the region to have national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by 2020 as called for by target (e) of the Sendai Framework.

These strategies must go beyond a focus on natural hazards to include specific measures which will aid communities across the region to adapt to the long-term effects of climate change.

Adaptation to climate change is a key part of disaster prevention and reducing future disaster losses. It is as important as addressing poverty, strengthening risk governance, halting destruction of the environment, ensuring sustainable land use and enforcing building codes.

Here in Central Asia over the past three decades, disasters due to natural hazards affected over 10 million people and caused a loss of almost $2.5 billion.

Such are the realities which need to be addressed at this Conference.

If your strategies are in line with the Sendai Framework the proof of that will be seen in the disaster loss data which you are uploading to the Sendai Framework Monitor recording progress on reducing mortality, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure.

The analysis of reporting to date, contained in the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, tells us that one size does not fit all. Strategies necessarily have different titles, different time scales and come with national indicators and targets appropriate to the risk profile of the country concerned.

However, I would say that each strategy must have the clear aim of preventing the creation of new risk and reducing existing levels of risk in the context of strengthening economic, social, health and environmental resilience.

The UN family is here to support your efforts and you can count on ASG Asako Okai and myself to back your efforts. I am impressed by the engagement of the UN in Tajikistan in addressing these challenges, a visible sign of the UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience being put into practice.

Before I close, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Prime Minister Rasulzoda in highlighting disaster risk reduction through his many visits to disaster-prone areas and the establishment of a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

This level of political commitment is vital to the successful implementation of the Sendai Framework and fundamental to the overall achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I am happy to see that this Conference is well attended by representatives from Tajikistan’s neighbours as strengthening transboundary cooperation is pivotal to supporting the efforts of governments and civil society actors to reduce disaster risk.

I am pleased therefore, to announce that UNDRR will be extending further support to build disaster and climate resilience in Central Asia.

The project, funded by the European Commission, will take-off in the next few weeks and last for three years.

It will support the implementation of national strategies – as well as strategies of capital cities across Central Asia, including here in Dushanbe – through the development of national disaster loss databases across the region, enhancing capacity building and convening experts on transboundary issues.

Let me close by expressing once more my sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Tajikistan for their hospitality and excellent organization of this event.

I am convinced that initiatives such as this are solid opportunities for furthering the DRR agenda, exchanging good practices and experiences, and fostering greater regional cooperation.

Thank you for your attention.

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