Remarks by SRSG Mizutor at Closing Ceremony - VII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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VII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean

November 1-4, 2021

Virtual Event

Closing Ceremony Remarks 

Mrs. Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Hon. Minister Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development

Hon Brigadier Mr Mark Phillips, Prime Minister of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana 

Ms Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency

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.

My thanks go to the Government of Jamaica for hosting and Prime Minister Andrew Holness for opening this Regional Platform.

My thanks also go to the Regional Platform Advisory Council representing previous Regional Platform hosts, Intergovernmental Organizations, UN partner agencies, Civil Society Organizations and the private sector for their support in planning the various sessions.

This coming together of national and local government leaders, private sector representatives, academia, scientists, youth and community leaders, has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and bringing about a better and more equitable world.  

The historic moment in which we find ourselves has advanced understanding of the systemic nature of disaster risk.


The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the climate emergency and the destruction of the natural world, is a constant reminder of our vulnerability and the fragility of the systems on which we depend for our very survival.  

The experience of the pandemic has also shown us the importance of strengthened systemic risk governance.

This requires national and local disaster risk reduction strategies built on scientific, social, and political cooperation such as you have been encouraging over these four days.

We emerge from this virtual but close encounter with renewed determination to promote international cooperation to developing countries and support progress in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Regional Platform has also raised levels of ambition to implement the updated Regional Action Plan which recognizes that women, children, youth and other vulnerable groups, have a role to play as agents of change in implementing disaster risk reduction strategies that are inclusive and welcoming of diversity.

This is the first revision of the Regional Action Plan since it was adopted four years ago at the 5th Regional Platform held in Canada. Times have changed since then, and the disaster risk landscape has become more dynamic and unpredictable.

This week we have re-iterated our commitment to reducing mortality, the numbers of people disaster-affected, damage to critical infrastructure and economic losses as set out in the Sendai Framework; and to align our actions with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda.

That requires that countries step up their efforts to develop and implement national and local disaster risk reduction strategies.

The Ministerial Declaration is an inspiring document with inputs from Civil Society and Youth.

With the participation of 29 countries, mainly from the Caribbean, and under the leadership of Jamaica, new commitments have been made. One relates to the key role that Youth can play in DRR strategies.

This follows logically from the energy and enthusiasm of the first Youth Forum held a few days before the official opening and whose findings were shared at the ministerial meeting. The Youth Forum will now be a feature of all future regional platforms.  

One of the most important themes of this platform has been the connection between increasing disaster risks and climate change echoing many of the concerns being expressed this week at COP26.


I am hopeful that the COP26 will raise levels of commitment to action on both mitigation and adaptation.

Today’s Adaptation Gap report from the UN Environment Programme makes for sober reading; estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than what they currently receive.

This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

This Regional Platform has been a reminder that we need a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. Funding and other supports for the implementation of Adaptation Plans and DRR strategies must be part of that.

Your discussions here this week will feed into the Mid-Term Review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

I invite you all to join me at the Global Platform and to bring with you many of the unique insights and perspectives particular to the Americas and the Caribbean.  

I would like to thank and recognize the valuable contribution our donors and partners have made to the success of this event: the US Agency for International Development – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Commission; High Commission of Canada; German Agency for International Cooperation; and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative.

I once again express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Jamaica and CDEMA for joining us in making this event happen despite the pandemic.

I deeply regret that we could not all be there in person to experience Jamaica’s legendary hospitality. But I also take pride in the record virtual attendance: more than 2,500 participants and more than 45,000 views online.

I also reiterate my gratitude to the representatives of the public sector, the private sector, academia, civil society, communities, and the public.

The success of this Regional Platform has been due precisely to this broad representation of so many different sections of society particularly the youth.

It is clear that the region has a realistic grasp of the challenges that lie ahead and is on the right track to a resilient future.

Thank you.


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