Mr. Meza-Cuadra opened the meeting by saying that sustainable development will not be sustainable without risk reduction. The Secretary-General proclaimed that sustainability starts on March 14th in Sendai, Japan, during the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The increased number of natural disasters has cost the world roughly $3 billion each year. The poorest countries are hit hardest when disasters strike, and 90% of fatalities come from low- and middle-income countries. Mr. Maskrey described how the world is reaching a breaking point as 1.5 planets are needed to sustain the current consumptions of water resources and carbon output. Mr. Sareer spoke about how Maldives was ready to transition into a middle-income country; however, it took 10 years to rebuild what the 2004 tsunami destroyed. Food security, water sources, ecosystems, and economies are all at stake with climate change.
Mr. Nkwain mainly spoke about the vulnerability of developing countries. He also mentioned that the information that we have about risk prevention needs to be effectively utilized for it to be useful. Mr. Binger spoke about the Caribbean countries and stated that SIDS have very limited areas of development due to restrictions on land. Developmental assistance needs to focus more on SIDS, as they are the most vulnerable due to their small area and isolated nature. The final speaker was Mr. Mayer, whose main point centered around the need for the world to move towards a culture of disaster prevention. Disaster warning systems need to be relied upon more in order to prevent casualties and infrastructure damage. He finished the speech by stating that it is up to everyone in the room to help implement disaster risk reduction in the future.
Meeting: Official launch of the 2015 Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction (by the Secretary-General of the United Nations) (organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR))
Date & Location: Wednesday, 4 Februrary 2015, Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru to the UN; Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General; Andrew Maskrey, Coordinator of the United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk. Reduction (GAR); Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the UN; Margaret Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Stan Nkwain, United Nations Development Programme; Albert Binger, Energy Science Advisor at Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre; Thomas Mayr-Harting, EU Head of Delegation to the United Nations
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey