Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for accelerated efforts to strengthen the capacity to withstand disasters across the world, saying the destruction wrought by such events can be avoided or mitigated by enhancing resilience through technology and other measures aimed at boosting preparedness.
“We must accelerate our efforts. The world’s vulnerability to disaster risks is growing faster than our ability to increase resilience,” Mr. Ban told the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, which opened today.
“As a result of global climate change, weather-related hazards are on the rise. Nuclear safety and the threat of multiple hazards add an even greater sense of urgency,” said the Secretary-General.
He called for the broadening of the coalition of national and local leaders promoting disaster risk reduction across the world.
“Disaster risk reduction is everyone’s business,” said Mr. Ban, adding that the United Nations, as the “global first responder to disaster and crises,” will continue to integrate disaster risk reduction and preparedness, as well as climate change adaptation measures, into its work around the world.
He stressed the need to “risk-proof development,” saying that the economies of the world’s least developed countries were the most affected when disasters strike because of their higher vulnerability as a result of poverty, weather variability and climate change.
“No development effort will be equitable or sustainable unless disaster and climate risk measures are a part of the picture.”
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction was established in 2007 as a biennial forum for information exchange and partnership building across sectors to improve implementation of disasters risk reduction strategies through better communication and coordination among stakeholders.
The theme of this year’s forum is “Invest today for a safer tomorrow: Increase investment in local action.” More than 2,500 representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and the private sector are attending the forum.
An added dimension of the conference is the World Reconstruction Conference, organized by the World Bank and the UN, and held at the same venue. It constitutes one of the main pillars of the Global Platform.