First Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
5-7 June 2007 | Geneva, Switzerland

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Sunday, 10 June 2007
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Highlights for Tuesday, 5 June 2007

On Tuesday, 5 June 2007, the first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP/DRR) opened with a video message from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He stressed that risk reduction is the frontline defense against disaster threats and called upon participants to act with common purpose at the first session of the GP/DRR to fulfill the promise of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). In the opening session, Secretary of State Michael Ambuhl, Switzerland, welcomed participants and highlighted the ISDR system as vital to providing support for national disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes delivered the keynote statement and suggested: documenting those countries at greatest risk; mainstreaming policies to reduce huge losses in development efforts; and increasing investment and strengthening institutions through partnerships. Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), outlined AKDN’s DRR activities in a range of countries. Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), noted that the WMO congress had recently identified DRR as WMO’s chief priority. Jeff Gutman, Vice-President, World Bank, noted that World Bank emergency response programmes were increasingly emphasizing DRR activities.  

Regarding the organization of the session, Chair Holmes introduced the draft agenda and timetable of the session, which were not amended. On challenges and opportunities in disaster risk reduction, interventions were made by heads of delegations and high-level participants in the morning, and in the afternoon a high-level dialogue, moderated by Mishal Hussain, BBC, opened debate among panelists and the plenary. The panel addressed DRR from three perspectives: implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action to reduce disaster risk and adapt to climate change; reducing disaster risk in urban settings and megacities; and exploring ways to raise the profile of DRR on the policy agenda.

Opening
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by video message stressed that risk reduction is the frontline defense against disaster threats and called on participants to act with common purpose at the first session of the GP/DRR to fulfill the promise of the HFA.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes delivered the keynote address and said we need to move forward together united by a sense of purpose and a sense of urgency.
Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization, outlined the human and economic cost of disasters since 1980, noting 90% were weather related.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), outlined AKDN's DRR activities, including its actions following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.
Jeff Gutman, Vice President, World Bank, noted that World Bank emergency response programmes were increasingly emphasizing DRR activities.
Statements on challenges and opportunities in disaster risk reduction
Umesh Prasad Mainali, Home Secretary, Nepal, said lessons learned from Nepal's experience included the need for a collaborative framework for action and for public awareness and advocacy on DRR.
Jan Knutsen, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Sweden, outlined Sweden's increased support for DRR activities and its efforts to assess increasing climate change impacts.
Cajas Lorena, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration, Ecuador, said Ecuador is institutionalizing DRR and that the GP/DRR is a chance for a fruitful exchange of views and experience.
Ismail Shafeeu, Minister of Defense, Republic of Maldives, noted that the process of disaster management has political and fiscal support in the Maldives.
High Level Dialogue
The High Level Dialogue panel, moderated by Mishal Hussain (center standing).
The High Level Dialogue
L-R: Panelists Saleemul Huq, International Institute for Environment and Development; Cristelle Pratt, SOPAC; and Daniel Gagnier, IISD, on linking DRR with climate change
L-R: Panelists He Yongnian, Disaster Reduction Society, China; Violeta Seva, Earthquake and Megacities Initiative; and Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul, on reducing disaster risks in urban settings and megacities;
Lousewies van der Laan, LW International, suggested “naming and shaming” those who do not implement the HFA.
Mishal Hussain, BBC, moderated the discussion.
Web coverage:
Monday, 4 June (preparatory meetings) - Tuesday, 5 June - Wednesday, 6 June - Thursday, 7 June
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