GENEVA, 26 January 2012 - Pressing the world for a push on prevention, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon yesterday stressed that, “Prevention saves billions of dollars and millions of lives”, and pointed to the UN as “the world’s fire brigade in responding to disasters and keeping the peace”.
Yesterday, Mr. Ban rolled out his ‘Five Year Action Agenda’ stating that “Our Action Agenda will place prevention at the very centre of our work, from development to peace and security to protecting human rights and advancing democracy.”
And he once again reiterated that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is one of the key priorities on his list of “generational imperatives and opportunities” that will guide his second term at the helm of the world’s principal multilateral body.
The other priorities according to the Secretary-General are “sustainable development; building a safer and more secure world by innovating and building on our core business; supporting nations in transition; and working with and for women and young people
“The next five years will be crucial for defining and agreeing on a common vision for the future; making path shaping investments; broadening the base of constituencies working together; and adopting a flexible but robust international architecture that can address the increasing stresses on our international system”, stated Mr. Ban in what he called his “road map” at the first press conference of his second term which was held after the release of his ‘Five -Year Action Agenda’.
The Secretary-General’s ‘road map’ calls for support for the development and implementation of national DRR plans that address growing challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, urbanization and population growth. “Special emphasis should be placed on the least developed and most vulnerable countries, including providing a platform for south-south cooperation and facilitating the use of innovative methods and technology,” according to the Agenda.
Underscoring the need to address climate change, the UN Secretary-General’s new agenda identifies the necessity of facilitating mitigation and adaptation on the ground. Key to this, among other things, is deepening the understanding of the economic costs of climate change, and the corresponding financing needs which must include the mapping of regional and sub-regional vulnerability hotspots.
The Secretary-General stresses the importance of the participation of women and youth across the gamut of UN activities. In this light the Agenda also calls for scaling up the UN’s capacity to engage in transformative multi-stakeholder partnerships with the private sector, civil society, philanthropists and academia. It recommends creating a new UN Partnership Facility which will catalyze commitments and promote accountability.
At his press conference Mr. Ban said, “These are times of austerity. Yet these are also times of promise. More people are becoming engaged; more people are empowered to make a real difference. If we dedicate our energies and mobilize the UN system, we can move the needle for generations to come. We can create the future we want.”