NNA - Geneva - In a world enduring a growing threat of disasters, Lebanon has joined international powers once again to help mitigate the repercussions of future calamities, at the Fourth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, currently holding its preliminary sessions at the Geneva International Conference Center (CICG) in preparation for the opening session, tomorrow Tuesday.
Representing President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman, Caretaker Environment Minister Nazem Khoury, arrived in Geneva at noon on Monday to partake in tomorrow's opening session and deliver Lebanon's word.
The Lebanese delegation comprises, the Lebanese Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of the United Nations in Geneva, Najlaa Asaker, the Project Manager of the Disaster Risk Management Unit in Lebanon Mrs. Nathalie Zaarour, Chief Secretary of Army Staff for Operations, Colonel Jean Nabih Farah, Public Relations Chief at the Internal Security Forces, Colonel Joseph Mousallem, and Member of Beirut City Council, Nada Yamout. The delegation representing the private sector comprises Ms. Fadia Lanoun of NASCO KARAOGLAN, and Mr. Joe S. Tohme, the President and CEO of Sa Domaine de L'etoile.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, Robert Watkins, visited today Lebanon's booth at the global platform's marketplace, where he hailed Lebanon's relentless endeavors to render Lebanon a resilient nation.
"Despite Lebanon's crucial circumstances forming a new government, and seeking an election law, as well as the massive influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, the Lebanese did not fail to attend this landmark event in Geneva to display its efforts within the frame of DRR," said Watkins.
In turn, Caretaker Environment Minister Nazem Khoury also heaped praise on the joint efforts of Lebanon's public and private sectors to help reinforce a disaster resilient world, hand in hand with international experts who have garnered countless years of experience to serve this goal.
The Minister also underscored the importance of getting the Lebanese media more involved in the area of DRR awareness campaigns.
"Lebanon lacks the much needed media coverage of such events," the Caretaker Minister stressed, "it's high time the media took the coverage of DRR events a priority," he added.
The Project Manager of the Disaster Risk Management Unit in Lebanon, Mrs. Nathalie Zaarour, represented Lebanon at a roundtable discussion titled "Effective Normative Frameworks to Reduce Disaster Risk".
The session reportedly touched on critical issues within the frame of DRR, good practices, challenges and opportunities for the further development of countries' frameworks aiming to prevent and reduce disaster risk.
Yesterday, an Arab Regional meeting was held to shine light on the post Hyogo framework for Action HFAII. Chairing the meeting was Mr. Amjad Abbashar, the UNISDR Office for Arab States.
Ambassador Shahira Wahbi of the League of Arab states also delivered a presentation on the first Arab conference on DRR which was held in Aqaba, Jordan, on March 19, 2013, and witnessed the attendance of more than 200 representatives from local and regional governments, international agencies and organizations, NGOs and civil society, academic and technical institutions, as well as the private sector.
The Aqaba conference was the first to discuss DRR strategies at a pan-Arab level, during which conferees highlighted the importance of seeking means to ensure funds to face disasters.
Dr. Fadi Hamdan, a disaster Risk Reduction expert in Lebanon, also delivered a presentation, in which he shed light on the fact that there had been no substantial achievements in the post-Hyogo achievements in the Arab region. Albeit, he mentioned some progress with regard to awareness, which he said was still not enough.
"Desertation is the most crucial issue in the Arab world," warned Hamdan, who also deplored the fact that Multi hazard risk assessment in some countries was not taking into consideration gender capacity in handling risks. Hamdan also highlighted the importance of raising awareness among construction workers to alleviate the risk of having buildings collapse in the future, and the role of politicians in endorsing DRR relevant laws.
The UNISDR's Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk reduction is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland, till the 24th of May, 2013. This event, which marks a milestone towards the further development of disaster-resilient societies around the globe, gathers stakeholders from governments, international agencies and organizations, NGOs and civil society, academic and technical institutions, as well as the private sector.
This biennial forum aims to assess the world's progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action and share views on elements needed to strengthen the risk management framework to address current and future risk, and to report back on commitments made at previous Global Platforms.
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