Disaster risk reduction is "everybody's business," says UN chief

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on 14 March, 2015 in Sendai, Japan. UN Photo/Debebe

Disaster risk reduction is in everybody's interest and it's everybody's business, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon was speaking at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place in Sendai, Japan.

One of the expected outcomes of the meeting is the adoption of a new framework that will save lives and reduce the cost of damages from natural hazards.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

“This is the first stop on the world's journey to a new future”, said the UN chief, adding that "sustainability starts in Sendai".

The city of Sendai in Japan is part of the Tohoku region, which was heavily affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011.

Four years later, Heads of State, government ministers and other key actors from different sectors are meeting to commit to concrete actions to build a more resilient world. 

According to the UN, the last plan adopted a decade ago, called the Hyogo Framework for Action, saved thousands of lives.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said now is the time to respond to growing needs by empowering individuals, supporting communities and backing promises with resources.

"Disaster risk reduction is in everybody's interest – and it is everybody's business. In this globalized economy, our world is smaller than ever. An earthquake in one country shakes up financial markets in another. Disaster risk reduction is a smart investment for business and a wise investment in saving lives."

Recent estimates show that the global annual price tag in damage from natural hazards now exceeds US$300 billion.

Meanwhile, the UN reported that six billion dollars allocated each year can result in savings of up to US$360 billion by 2030.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″



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