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Remarks by H.E. Amb. He Yafei at the Ambassadorial Conversation on International Disaster Reduction Cooperation
2011/03/12

Distinguished Madam Margareta Wahlstrom, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General for Disaster Reduction,

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening. Welcome you all to the Permanent Mission of China.

In advance of the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held on 8-13 May in Geneva, it is a great privilege to host a dinner conversation tonight with the presence of Margareta and my fellow Ambassadors. I believe our conversation will facilitate an informed exchange and assist in shaping the nature and outcome of the preeminent event in risk reduction.

Nowadays, the world is witnessing frequent and extreme disasters such as drought, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and other hazards, which has caused significant loss of human lives and social and economic assets. In 2010, Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion. The impact of global disasters has been far-reaching, with profound linkages to and serious consequences upon poverty reduction, environment protection, economic growth, development strategy and etc.

With the theme on “Invest for a safer tomorrow — Increased investment in local action”, the Third Session of the Global Platform, focusing on post-disaster reconstruction, economics of disaster risk reduction, disaster relief funding, disaster reduction and adaptation to climate change, will conduct mid-term review of the Hyogo Framework for Action(HFA) and map out the Post-2015 policy framework for international disaster reduction. As the world’s foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations, the Global Platform will continue to play a pivotal role in raising public awareness, mobilizing stakeholders’ participation, and promoting disaster prevention and reduction in a holistic approach, with aim to achieving sustainable development.

With the increasing risks of global disasters, I wish to take this opportunity to share with you my preliminary thinking on the Third Session of the Global Platform and broadly the international cooperation on disaster reduction. We need,

1. To further promote political will of international community for disaster reduction. Taking advantage of various important international summits and meetings including the Third Session of the Global Platform, the G20 and BRICSA leaders’ meetings, we should build up political momentum and push forward pragmatic and substantial cooperation in implementing the HFA while encouraging stronger commitment to local action and protect the most vulnerable.

2. To adopt an integrated approach towards disaster reduction, environment and sustainable development. Bearing in mind the UN Sustainable Development Conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro 2012, we should consider the work of disaster reduction in the context of sustainable development, especially need to conduct an empirical study on and address the impact of climate change, urban development and environment degradation upon disaster reduction.

3. To build up capacities of Developing countries. We should increase investment in local action in developing countries by promoting disaster early warning and preparedness infrastructure, improving water risks management, compiling national disaster loss information and comprehensive risk assessments, and putting wider use of Information Technologies.

4. To raise public awareness of disaster reduction at all levels and cross all sectors. We need consistently to pursue the harmony between the nature and human kind by advocating sustainable consumption and production patterns, establishing public and private partnership, disseminating best policies and practices and standardizing emergent rehearsal of disaster preparation and reduction.

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would also like to briefly touch upon the work of disaster reduction in China. Being a natural disaster prone country, China has established a comprehensive system for disaster prevention, reduction, relief and reconstruction, featuring on central leadership, management at different levels and shared responsibility with all relevant departments. Meanwhile, a coordination mechanism has also been set up, composed of agencies such as the National Disaster Reduction Committee, State Flood and Drought Control Headquarters as well as the National Disaster Control and Relief Coordination Office.

In the past 5 years, the Chinese “11th Five-Year Plan on Comprehensive Disaster Reduction” had been implemented in full swing, with fruitful achievements at all levels. To name a few, they are

—Comprehensive coordination mechanism on disaster reduction had been set up, with the scientific leadership of the Expert Steering Committee.

—Legislation of laws and statutes on disaster reduction had been improved, with the enacting of “the Natural Disaster Relief Regulations ” in particular.

—Emergency relief capacity had been greatly lifted up, with the standardization of disaster statistic study and the increasing of relief subsidies.

—Science and technology had been put into much wider use in addressing disaster risks, such as remote sensing, GPS and etc.

—International cooperation on disaster reduction had been expanded, the White Paper on the Chinese Disaster Relief, which can be accessed to via internet, elaborated China’s larger role in this regard.

In the next 5 years, China will continue to upgrade its capacity on disaster reduction with the guidance of “the National Comprehensive Plan on Disaster Preparation and Reduction”. We plan,

—To further improve the coordination mechanism on disaster reduction by strengthening the leading position of the National Disaster Reduction Committee.

—To further reinforce the disaster risks management by standardizing the work of disaster information soliciting, analyzing, processing and delivery.

—To further promote the construction of disaster emergency response system by making the emergency relief rehearsal routine and effective.

—To further raise the public awareness on disaster reduction by giving periodical training for both urban and rural citizens.

—To further enhance the sense of addressing disaster risks by science and technology and to further expanding the international cooperation on disaster reduction.

UNISDR has done a good job in preparing the Third Session of the Global Platform, especially completed the Mid-Term Review Report of the HFA, background paper for the Third Session of the Global Platform. China will, as always, render full support for UNISDR and the meeting.

Thank you!

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