Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, observed on 13 October:
Throughout my life and career, I have visited many communities affected by extreme weather events and other natural hazards. From the South Pacific to Mozambique to the Caribbean and beyond, I have seen the devastating and life-changing impact of the climate emergency on vulnerable communities.
Disasters inflict horrendous suffering and can wipe out decades of development gains in an instant.
In the coming decade, the world will invest trillions of dollars in new housing, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure. Climate resilience and disaster risk reduction must be central to this investment.
There is a strong economic case for such steps: making infrastructure more climate-resilient can have a benefit-cost ratio of about 6 to 1. For every dollar invested, six dollars can be saved. This means that investing in climate resilience creates jobs and saves money.
And it is the right thing to do: it can ease and prevent human misery.
I am encouraged by the global groundswell of public support for urgent climate action, and by the many commitments made at the recent Climate Action Summit. We all must now focus on increased ambitions. I call on the world to step up their investments by 2020 and ensure that disaster risk reduction is at the heart of the Decade of Action.
Let us all push for greater ambition on climate action, disaster risk reduction and all our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.