Better planning and management could reduce the impact of natural hazards before they become disasters, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.
“Natural hazards are a part of life. But hazards only become disasters when people’s lives and livelihoods are swept away,” the Secretary-General said in a message issued to mark International Day for Disaster Reduction.
“It is well within our power to do something about this. Better decision-making, improved planning, effective risk management, innovation in development and environmental protection activities – these are the human activities that can reduce the vulnerability of communities. To this end, risk assessment and disaster reductions should be integral part of all sustainable development projects and policies,” he added.
“On the International Day for Disaster Reduction, let us remind ourselves that we can and must reduce the number and impact of disasters by building sustainable communities that have the long-term capacity to live with risk.”
Also recognizing the International Day of Disaster Reduction, the President of the General Assembly, Julian R. Hunte, said, “Much more needs to be done to promote economic growth, improve awareness through education, to develop policies and frameworks to integrate disaster reduction issues into sustainable development and national planning agencies. This is a challenge for the international community, which can only be achieved if we all work together on these issues.”