UN kicks off discussions on new international blueprint for disaster risk reduction

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

GENEVA, 5 March 2012 - The UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, and HE Yoichi Otabe, the Japanese Ambassador to the International Organizations in Geneva, announced today the start of consultations on a new international blueprint for reducing disaster losses in advance of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction which the Japanese government is proposing to host in 2015.

The new framework for disaster risk reduction will build on the success of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities in spreading a culture of disaster prevention around the globe. The Hyogo Framework was agreed at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture in January 2005 on the tenth anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995, and a month after the Asian tsunami.

Ms. Wahlström said: "As we look to the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, the start of consultations on the post-HFA framework is a suitable occasion on which to acknowledge the debt that the world owes to Japan when it comes to sharing its vast experience and knowledge of disaster risk reduction and preparedness.

"The learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake will be a vital contribution to preparing the world to meet the challenges of disaster risk in the urbanized, globalized world of the 21st century where a natural hazard can trigger a chain of catastrophic events impacting lives and livelihoods in tragic ways unless we are realistic in our assessment of risk and act accordingly."

HE Yoichi Otabe said: "The Great East Japan Earthquake has provided us with further confirmation of the importance of disaster risk reduction as a critical global issue in the 21st century. Development is too often sidetracked and at times even reversed by disasters, so investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience supports sustainable development. We have seen a significant improvement in the political and economic commitment to reducing risk and increasing resilience since the Kobe World Conference in 2005 and hope that this will be enhanced as a result of Rio+20.

"The Hyogo Framework provides an analytical tool for gauging progress towards reducing disaster losses and encourages both strategic and action-oriented planning. Progress is being made but more needs to be done to help countries to address the causes of risk. Japan will hold an international conference in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region this summer to boost international cooperation on coping with natural disasters and to support discussions on establishing a post-HFA Framework. A new framework will help to mainstream disaster risk reduction into sustainable development policy after the Millennium Development Goals."

There are 133 countries reporting on their progress in implementing the HFA making it the most important source of information on disaster risk management at the country level. UNISDR is collaborating with 40 countries on building national disaster loss data bases, a critical knowledge base for making investment decisions in disaster risk management. There are now 78 National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction.

UN Daily Press Briefing and guest: Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

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