Posts Tagged ‘Disaster risk reduction’

United Nations Leadership Highlights Disaster Prevention as a Key Priority for 2012

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
UN Leadership

UN Leaders Prioritize Disaster Preparedness

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has identified the prevention of disasters and making the world safer among his “five generational priorities” for 2012 through the remainder of his second term. Mr. Ban stated “We have to connect the dots [between] climate change, [the] food crisis, water scarcity, energy shortages and women’s empowerment as well as global health issues. These are all interconnected issues.” The UN Secretary-General believes that  said solutions lie with harnessing “the strong power of partnerships” to respond to the planet’s biggest challenges, such as tackling climate change, combating poverty and empowering women and girls (who are especially vulnerable to major disasters). “Together, nothing is impossible,” said the Secretary-General, adding that “if we strengthen these partnerships among governments, business communities, civil organizations and philanthropists, then I think all these powerful partnerships can bring us towards the right direction.” The Secretary-General shared the story of his meeting with a boy during a visit last year to the South Pacific island country of Kiribati which, threatened by rising sea waters – as an example of the enormous faith and expectations which the peoples of the world invest in the UN. “He appealed to me to ‘Please help us address this climate change. Our homes and our way of life may be swept away overnight’,” Mr. Ban recalled, saying it is one of the reasons why climate change must remain at the top of the global agenda.

Disaster preparedness was again a key priority among three others identified by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of United Nations General Assembly in his end of the year address to usher in 2012. Mr. Al-Nasser said that in 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake, floods in Southeast Asia, and the crisis in the Horn of Africa, had tasked the international community to intensify efforts to improve disaster preparedness – the third pillar of the Assembly’s 66th session.  “Though much has been done to share lessons and improve systems of alert and quick response around the world, we must do more to implement policies and measures that can mitigate the impact of natural disasters and also address or prevent man-made catastrophes”, he said. The United States is one of the 166 countries that signed the Hyogo Framework for Action, a global commitment to reduce disaster risk. I am beginning work on a related project for the UN and will share more details in the future.