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20 May 2013



WMO participates in Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction is at the core of the mission of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs,). as over 90% of disasters are linked to weather, climate- and water-related hazards. Climate change is expected to lead to an increase in the intensity and frequency of some of these hazards. WMO is therefore an active participant in the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 19 to 23 May 2013.

About 4,600 representatives from governments, civil society and the private sector are expected to attend the Global Platform “Invest Today for a safer tomorrow: Resilient People Resilient Planet.” The event is organized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction. Discussions will focus on a follow-up action plan to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, which is a global initiative to make the world safer from natural hazards.

Investment in meteorological and hydrological services is a key part of disaster risk reduction, according to a WMO statement submitted to the Global Platform. With a major Disaster Risk Reduction Programe, underpinned by the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), WMO works to strengthen weather, climate, and hydrological services to support risk analysis, early warning systems, sectoral planning and risk financing.

On the eve of the Global Platform, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon presented the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR13) ‘From Shared Risk to Shared Value: The Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction.’ WMO and its Members contributed to the report, particularly in relation to droughts, floods and tropical cyclones. The report explored why increasing disaster risk represents a growing problem for the economic and business community. It revealed that direct losses from past disasters are likely to be at least a 50 percent higher than previously reported. It estimated average potential losses from future earthquakes and cyclonic winds alone at US$ 189 billion per year.

“We have carried out a thorough review of disaster losses at national level and it is clear that direct losses from floods, earthquakes and drought have been under-estimated by at least 50%. So far this century, direct losses from disasters are in the range of US$ 2.5 trillion,” said the U.N. Secretary-General.

"Economic losses from disasters are out of control and can only be reduced in partnership with the private sector which is responsible for 70% to 85% of all investment worldwide in new buildings, industry and small to medium sized enterprises. The principles of disaster risk reduction must be taught at business schools and become part of the investor's mind-set," he said.

WMO plays a key coordination role in disaster risk reduction with its network of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and its operational network. This comprises the WMO Global Observing System, Global Telecommunication System and Global Data Processing and Forecasting System, a network of operational speciialized global and regional meteorological and climate centres, to monitor, detect, forecast and exchange weather, water and climate-related information for risk assessment and decision-making to reduce risks and building resilience.

WMO has a booth at the Global Platform to showcase initiatives, projects and tools on early warning systems and disaster risk reduction.

Throughout the Global Platform, senior WMO experts will take part in high-level meetings, plenaries, and feature events.

WMO has organized a side event with a number of its partners, entitled, Benefits of Climate Services for Managing Disaster Risk for Sustainable Growth. Disaster risk reduction is one of the top priorities of the Global Framework for Climate Services now being implemented by governments with support from WMO and its partners. This global initiative aims to increase and improve climate services to help communities and countries, especially the most vulnerable, adapt to climate variability and change. At this side event (21 May), experts will share national and regional examples where climate services have improved risk-informed decision-making. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud emphasized the need for user-friendly climate services at an event organized by the Government of Norway 20 May.

“The emergence of climate prediction provides opportunities to increase the lead times of early warnings. Historical data has traditionally been used for analysis of hazards patterns but past information is no longer sufficient, because hazard characteristics are changing as a result of climate change,” said Mr Jarraud. He said scientifically-based climate services were therefore essential to inform decisions on, for instance, construction of dams and dykes.

Mr Jarraud will chair a multi-agency coordinated Feature Event on “Drought Resilience in a Changing Climate, “ (22 May) to promote the benefits of Integrated drought risk management.  Countries remain challenged to quantify the risk of drought and to put in place the required institutional mechanisms to reduce the longer term risks. Climate change is increasing temperature variability and access to water, potentially leading to land degradation and reduced agricultural production according to the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events. WMO is spearheading efforts to help governments move towards proactive, integrated drought risk management policies to replace the current piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and co-sponsored a High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy (11 to 15 March 2013)..

Mr Jarraud will also attend a high-level dialogue session with ministers and heads of state 21 May. Mr Jarraud and Ms Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, will co-chair an Informal Plenary on the Post 2015 Framework, focusing on how to follow on from the current Hyogo Framework for Action.

WMO in cooperation with World Bank/GFDRR and experts from Costa Rica  is organizing several events and a special presentation Costa Rica: Building community resilience to floods (May 21). This will showcase an example of good practice of how community involvement, institutional cooperation from national to local level, combined with latest technologies for observing, monitoring and forecasting of hazards, have led to a more effective and sustainable early warning system to protect the lives and livelihoods of communities at risk in the Sarapiqui River Basin in Costa Rica.  The project has led to close coordination and cooperation among national agencies and empowered over 50 Sarapiqui River basin communities. A representative from the Sarapiqui communities will be panellist at e plenary on “Community Resilience.”


More information about WMO activities at GPDRR IV









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