Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the importance of disaster risk reduction in countering the challenges of climate change and attaining the ambitious goals of moving developing states out of poverty.
“With the earthquake in Haiti and other disasters, this year began with tragic reminders of the vulnerability of societies and the complexities inherent in any response,” he said in a message to the International Disaster and Risk Conference in Davos, Switzerland.
He noted that he will convene a summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at United Nations Headquarters in New York in September to advance the ambitious targets of slashing hunger and poverty, infant and maternal mortality, and lack of access to health care and education – all by 2015. Meanwhile, governments will gather for a climate change meeting in Cancun, Mexico in December.
“Disaster risk reduction can help to advance progress across this agenda. By focusing on the linkages, we can achieve a triple win by reducing the impact of disasters, adapting to climate change and safeguarding our development gains.”
He commended the conference participants for working towards the harmonization and integration of risk reduction with sustainable development, climate change and disaster management.
He also praised the UN campaign to boost the resiliency of urban areas launched today in Bonn, Germany. The two-year scheme, called Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready, urges leaders and local governments to commit to a 10-point checklist, seeking to bring more than 1,000 local government leaders around the world to step up investment in urban planning; infrastructure and building safety; reinforcing drainage systems to reduce flooding; and installing early warning systems, among other measures.
“I encourage all cities to join, following the examples of Bonn, Mexico City, Saint-Louis in Senegal, Larreynaga-Malpaisillo in Nicaragua, Albay in the Philippines, Baofeng in China, and Karlstad in Sweden,” he said.