SRSG Mizutori remarks at UNESCO Global SIDS dialogue series - Towards the sustainable development for SIDS - Caribbean

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Statement by SRSG Mami Mizutori on the Caribbean

Towards the sustainable development for SIDS: UNESCO Global SIDS dialogue series

Theme: Disaster Risk Reduction

22 October 2021


His  Excellency Mr Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles,

Director General of UNESCO


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak at this important event in a very timely moment right before the opening of COP26 organised by our core partner in the UN system UNESCO.

Last year a new record was set,  30 named storms hit the Caribbean region during the Atlantic Hurricane Season. This coincided with COVID19, stretching the region’s disaster management agencies and public health authorities to the limit.

As already shared by Ambassador Rosette-Cazel, the resource-challenged region has been further hit this year by many terrible disasters this year:

Indeed the  major earthquake in Haiti which has added further to the toll of disasters over the last ten years.

While life on St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been disrupted by a volcanic eruption that displaced thousands of people to shelters for five months just as the Delta variant of COVID19 reached the country.

The huge economic losses – over 200% of GDP - inflicted by recent hurricane seasons on the island of Dominica, illustrates how these disasters events can undermine precious development gains of SIDS.

I take this opportunity to commend the work of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinating the region’s response to climate change, working on effective solutions and projects on the ground to combat the environmental impacts of global warming.

Thanks to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the region as a whole is making good progress on integrating disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

Furthermore,  next month from 1-4 November, Jamaica will host the Americas and Caribbean Regional Platform for DRR. This is the first time for a Caribbean nation to host this regional DRR conference.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, in the context of the mid-term review process of the Sendai Framework, which has just started and will culminate in 2023, is now looking at how best to support the SIDS to overcome the specific constraints you are facing  in reducing disaster losses.

This will include the development of a monitoring framework for the SAMOA Pathway, with particular focus on reducing direct disaster economic loss, implementation of national and local DRR strategies, enhanced international cooperation and increased availability of multi-hazard early warning systems.

The recent report by the Secretary-General on the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway recommends the establishment of a high-level expert panel to finalize a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index for SIDS by 2022. UNDRR strongly supports this recommendation.

This is especially important given the dire economic and debt situation confronting many SIDS as a result of the pandemic. Potential uses of such an index include acting as a guiding framework for resource allocation, and to inform UN support and country graduation strategies as well as a tool to inform approaches to debt restructuring.

In the meantime, I can assure SIDS of UNDRR’s wholehearted support at COP26 next month.

It is vital for SIDS that developed countries fulfill their pledge to mobilize $100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries and to enhance support to climate adaptation action.

As it stands, currently, far too little of disaster-related ODA goes towards prevention and disaster risk reduction before disaster strikes, it is just some 50 cents out of every $100. Why? Because most governments see DRR as a cost, but it is in fact an investment. And no other groups of countries than the SIDS know this.

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.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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