Speech by Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Daring Cities Closing Plenary

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Speech by Ms. Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

Daring Cities Closing Plenary

28 October 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am sure every generation thinks they are living in extraordinary times, but I must say that I think we can claim the most extraordinary. The very fabric of our lives has been strained and stretched to breaking point by a tiny, invisible pathogen that has brought the world to its knees.

And we are yet to see how the story ends.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disaster have had catastrophic effects. Many of you here today are city leaders and representatives, so you will have seen first-hand the devastation that a disaster of this nature can wreak on communities.

Tragically, there is no denying that we knew this was coming. Just as we can anticipate many of the hazards that we face, and just as we know the potential – and indeed existing – impact that climate change poses.

For many years we have treated disaster as a question of ‘if’, rather than a question of ‘when’.

There is no more excuse for ignorance in our connected and informed world.

The realization of how exposed cities are to the simultaneous threats of multiple and cascading risk, adds a whole new layer of responsibility and urgency to getting disaster risk governance right in urban settings.

At the same time, other drivers of disaster risk also increase disaster loss including poverty, bad decisions made in relation to land use and building regulations, persistent environmental degradation and lack of investment in strong institutions that include and respond to community need.

The intersection of these critical agendas is why cities are on the front line of both development and disaster risk reduction, and why we must address them hand in hand.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction recognizes the role of cities in reducing disaster risks, as well as addressing climate risks and achieving the SDGs.

Over the past ten years, the Making Cities Resilient Campaign has been successful in promoting a risk-informed approach to development planning.

Some 4,300 cities are now part of the MCR Campaign, while 868 cities around the world have used the tools it provides.

The Making Cities Resilient Campaign concludes at the end of 2020. I am happy to announce that the new phase of the Campaign – MCR2030 – was launched earlier today with commitment from a number of partners, national governments, local governments and other stakeholders. I invite to support the MCR2030 as it rolls out in 2021.

MCR2030 will support you- mayors, representatives of local governments, urban planners and experts, and community members to achieve risk-informed development at the local level through the implementation of sound and inclusive strategies for disaster risk reduction. It will provide a space for sharing tools and resources, for city-to-city learning and for partnership and collaboration.

Thank you.

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