Thank you for coming together for this Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Reducing disaster risk and building resilience are now recognized as essential to sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Now is the time to act.
In the past twenty years, over one million people have lost their lives from disasters. Billions of others have been affected. And trillions of dollars have been incurred in damages.
As we look ahead, we can expect more extreme weather events and new challenges.
You are on the frontlines of disaster risk management. Your input and action is vital to meeting the challenges of a new age of risk in the 21st century.
Regional partnerships will be critical to achieve a sustained reduction of lives lost in disasters. They are also crucial to lowering the economic impact of disasters. These partnerships require the highest level of political support.
The Hyogo Framework for Action, the world’s first agreement on disaster risk reduction, mobilized efforts national and local action.
This agreement will end in 2015. I know you will draw upon the lessons learned over the last seven years of implementation as you plan for the future and help us shape the post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework and the wider post-2015 development agenda.
Your Regional Platform can serve as a cornerstone to building the future we want.
I wish you a successful and productive meeting.