Former UN General Assembly president appointed to disaster risk reduction, water post

Han Seung-soo. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

19 December 2013 – Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea has been appointed to rally commitments from Member States, the private sector and civil society to support the United Nations’ work on water related disaster risk reduction, it was announced today.

Mr. Han will be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water, a position is particularly relevant given the advancements being made on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The appointment also comes amid preparations for the post-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action, which will succeed the 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) created at the 2005 conference in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.

The HFA sets five priorities for action, and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving disaster resilience. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.

Mr. Han served as Chairperson of the Global Green Growth Institute Governing Board and, in 2011 – 2012, was a member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability prior to the Rio+20 Summit.

He also served as his country’s Prime Minister between 2008 and 2009 and as President of the 56th session of the UN General Assembly in 2001.

According to information from Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, Mr. Han also previously served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Climate Change and “has deep understanding of climate change and its impact on the frequency and intensity of water related disasters.”

He currently serves as Chair of the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters and as a member of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

A recipient of an Honorary Knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, Mr. Han is a current member of the Club of Madrid.


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