Cancun, Mexico

24 May 2017

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks to the media following the conclusion of the Leaders Forum

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I am pleased to be here, and I thank President Peña Nieto for his government’s hospitality in hosting this conference.
 
We have just had a most productive Leaders’ Forum.
 
The objective was to identify and commit to practical measures for reducing economic losses due to disasters and to increase the resilience of people exposed to them.
 
We had a particular focus on infrastructure and housing, since that one person in seven lives in poor quality overcrowded conditions.
 
Economic losses due to disasters pose a clear threat to sustainable development.
 
Over the last 10 years, direct losses alone are conservatively estimated at $1.4 trillion dollars.
 
In some parts of the world exposure to economic loss is growing too fast.
 
Extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change are a serious concern.
 
Water-related disasters account for almost 90 per cent of the 1,000 most costly events since 1990.
 
Over the next 40 years, we expect trillions of dollars of investment in infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, urban road construction, water and sanitation, energy and transport systems, and housing, will be required than ever before. 
 
Some 60 per cent of the area expected to be urbanized by 2030 has yet to be built.
 
Leaders committed here today to ensure that this investment is risk-informed and resilient.
 
We recognized the need to increase partnerships between the public and private sectors as infrastructure is upgraded.
  
And we recommended further investment in early warning systems and risk transfer mechanisms to reverse current trends of water scarcity, floods, and the degradation of water and sanitation systems.
 
Leaders committed to a prevention agenda which encompasses the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in coherence with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the New Urban Agenda.
 
We committed to a disaster risk assessment of existing critical infrastructure by 2019 and to make disaster risk assessments a prerequisite for future infrastructure and housing investments.
 
To further resilience, we will invest in the collection of data and information on disaster risk and losses
 
And we will work to strengthen international cooperation on managing disaster risk, reducing mortality, reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters, reducing economic losses, and reducing damage to critical infrastructure.
 
Finally, we will take stock of progress at the next Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which will take place in Switzerland in 2019.
 
Thank you.