Monday, May 02, 2011

Global Need For Disaster Preparedness

Global cities from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Pakistan have recently been affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and mudslides. They continue to pay a very high price in human and economic terms. In response to these global disasters, the third session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Geneva on May 10-13, leaders from across the world will gather to discuss and decide on immediate actions on disaster risk reduction. The progressive theme of the forum will be "Invest today for a safer tomorrow: Increase investment in local action."

"We are in a fast-moving car and ahead is a crash waiting to happen. We need to act," stated Margareta Wahlstrom, the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Recent global experiences such as those mentioned above and the earthquake in Haiti prove that despite goodwill and collective effort, the international systems of support for national reconstruction and recovery are not adequate. "If done right, a crisis situation can be a window of opportunity," stated Selena Jackson a World Bank Special Representative to the UN and the WTO. But, as we have seen from the devastation caused by these incidents , presently this is not the case. We need to re-think reconstruction for a better and safer future was her main argument.

The Global Platform will be opened by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who will launch the 2011 report on Assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction. Hopefully the forum will be able to help governments and communities around the world build better disaster preparedness programs in order to avoid paying the human and economic prices we are now.

--Gabrielle Gurian