Opening and closing remarks by His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly, on the occasion of the informal thematic debate on disaster risk reduction:
Introducing on the magnitude 8.6 earthquake that struck Indonesia on April 11, Mr. Al Nasser stresses that improving disaster prevention and response is one of the four priority areas of the General Assembly 66th session, together with sustainable development and global prosperity. Linking the economic losses from disasters and the risks to development gains and MDGs attainment, he proposes to transform into an outcome the view that sees disaster risk reduction as an issue relevant to the sustainable development agenda.
He then presents the agenda of the sessions: (i) comprehensive action to sustainably reduce vulnerabilities, which aims to address the links between disaster risk reduction and humanitarian approach; and (ii) increasing resilience to disasters through climate adaptation and risk reduction, which focuses on the benefits of adaptation and risk reduction for Small Island Developing States, Africa and other highly vulnerable countries.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Al Nasser emphasized the key points that emerged during the discussion: (i) the unprecedent international momentum to reduce disaster risk; (ii) the need for Rio+20 to strategically place disaster risk reduction within the development framework; (iii) the need for a multi-stakeholder approach including engagement of the private sector and civil society; and (iv) an emphasis on the role of local level leaders and communities and the need to Empower local governments and community groups.
Finally, he urged Member States to consider this summary as they undertake the Rio+20 negotiations. He also announced the forthcoming High-Level International Conference on Large-Scale Natural Disasters in Japan in July, as well as the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2015 as key events that will provide support to the international community, as it considers the post-Hyogo Framework for Action in 2015.
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