3 July 2018

Asia-Pacific World’s Most Disaster-Prone Region, Secretary-General Tells Ministerial Conference, Urging Greater Investment in Risk Reduction

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Ulaanbaatar, 3-6 July 2018:

I am pleased to address the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.  I thank the Government and people of Mongolia for hosting this important gathering.  I only wish I could be there with you!

Last year, extreme weather events were largely responsible for displacing almost 19 million people around the world.  Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world and accounted for almost half this number. 

Disasters cost hundreds of billions of dollars, hitting the poorest countries disproportionately and pushing millions into poverty.  Investment in risk reduction saves lives and avoids economic losses.

Let us move from managing the consequences of disasters to managing disaster risk.

Climate change, rapid and unplanned urbanization, and entrenched poverty are amplifying the impact of extreme weather events and earthquakes.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction sets targets for disaster prevention and reducing losses.  I commend the Asia-Pacific region for fully embracing the Sendai Framework, and for your leadership on risk reduction.

We must tackle disaster risks and leave a more resilient planet to future generations.  

Your efforts are crucial for our work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

I thank you for your commitment and wish you fruitful discussions.

For information media. Not an official record.