Statement by Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, General Assembly Second Committee Side Event: Disaster Risk-Informed and Resilient COVID-19 Recovery

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

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Statement by Ms. Mami Mizutori

Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

General Assembly Second Committee Side Event

Disaster Risk-Informed and Resilient COVID-19 Recovery

Online, 15 October

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

UNDRR and our co-organizers, ILO, OHRLLS, and UN-Women, are very encouraged by the choice of the Second Committee to focus this year’s side event on “Disaster Risk-Informed and Resilient COVID-19 Recovery”.  

Earlier this week we celebrated International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, and it has become clear that the COVID-19 crisis is yet another wake-up call to stop the creation of risk and to start reducing risk. We cannot hit the snooze button again!

COVID-19 has triggered a disaster with social, economic and environmental consequences on a global scale. Measures taken to stop the spread of the virus have deepened poverty and exclusion. They have increased vulnerability and exposure to the impacts of climate change and other hazards. This is a textbook example of the systemic nature of risk and the potential for cascading impacts across systems and borders.

COVID-19 has shown that the approach to dealing with disasters as natural and exogenous events beyond our control must be laid to rest once and for all! We must realize that disasters are the consequences of our policy and investment choices. Disasters are the consequences of poverty and inequality. They are the consequences of economies that pursue growth at the expense of human dignity and environmental protection.  

At the United Nations, Governments have called for trillions of dollars to  achieve the SDGs, and now trillions more to recover from COVID-19. However, if countries don’t finance risk reduction, they will never be able to achieve the SDGs.

For all these reasons, the Sendai Framework must be implemented as an integral part of the 2030 Agenda.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

COVID-19 recovery is an opportunity to change course. The application of the Sendai Framework can ensure that recovery and rehabilitation measures address the underlying social, economic, and environmental risk drivers that brought the world to this point of crisis. Applying the Sendai Framework can ensure that from this point forward all public and private investments are made with an understanding of current, emerging and future risks.

This requires all countries to develop national and local DRR strategies, as per Target E of the Framework. It requires strategies and instruments for financing DRR. It requires bold political commitment and collaborative leadership to ensure that COVID-19 recovery and rehabilitation measures are aligned with national and local DRR strategies.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Last year, the SDG Summit Political Declaration clearly placed DRR at the core of the Decade of Action. This is even more necessary today.

UNDDR and the co-organizers have put together an event which we hope will support you to incorporate the Sendai Framework into decisions across all agenda items of the Second Committee this year and for years to come.

Thank you very much.

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