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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

New York, 1 September 2015 - Secretary-General's message to Breakfast Meeting with Parliamentarians on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Thank you for attending this gathering and thereby showing your commitment to disaster risk reduction.

In my opening remarks at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March this year, I said: “Sustainability starts in Sendai”.

In developing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will be adopted here at the United Nations later this month, the international community chose to address the root causes of our vulnerability.  The 2030 Agenda establishes the vision and ambition that must inform and inspire not only the anticipated agreement on climate change in December, but also the outcomes of next year’s World Humanitarian Summit and Habitat III Conference. 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and growth.  They place great emphasis on the eradication of extreme poverty, the reduction of inequalities, access to justice and good governance. Most importantly, they embody a commitment to leaving no one behind,
to reducing vulnerabilities and to building more resilient communities and settlements.

The adoption of the Sendai Framework in March was therefore a fundamental stepping stone marking this year of global action for people and the planet.

The Sendai Framework has important implications for the work of parliamentarians.   It shifts the emphasis from disaster management to disaster risk management.  We have to be able to identify, understand and manage the full range of natural and man-made hazards and related environmental, technological and biological risks.  With the cost of disasters rising exponentially in all countries, we have to improve our capacity to mobilize all-of-society and all-of-State responses to build resilience.

This will require a serious look at our priority setting, budget emphasis and the cooperation between institutions and administrative branches of government.  It will demand greater political cooperation and financial commitment. 

Parliamentarians will be key actors in translating the Goals and Targets into meaningful improvements in the daily lives of people across the world.  You can contribute by using your legislative and monitoring functions to ensure sustainable capital investments and adequate social expenditures.  You can adopt stronger and smarter laws, regulations, plans and policies that reflect the new development global agenda.  And you can work with your fellow representatives across the world to exchange best practices and innovations. 

Both the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can and must lead us towards a new social compact between citizens and their representatives – between people and their leaders.  Only then will we be able to transform our world and build a safer, more prosperous and sustainable future for all.

Statements on 1 September 2015