Disaster economic losses at $1.4trillion as world leaders commit to invest in disaster risk reduction

Written by  Mathews Malata Jr., Cancun-Mexico

The official opening of the world conference on Disaster Risk Reduction reverberated a fresh commitment from world leaders to reducing peoples suffering and economic losses due to disasters.

On Wednesday, the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke highly on the importance of preventing disasters from happening citing it as the only best way to save lives and resources.

President Nieto therefore expressed optimism that world leaders will seriously invest in risk management and implement strategies which can make a difference at local level.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto

“Mexico has invested a lot in disaster risk reduction and we shall continue to do so because that is not optional. We have put in place mechanisms which help  us respond quickly whenever a disaster occurs in order to save lives," Nieto said.

At around 7pm Deputy Secretary General for the United Nations Ms. Amina Mohammed held a joint press conference with co-chair of the 2017 Global Platform on DRR President Nieto announcing outcomes of a leader’s forum which lasted hours after the official opening ceremony.

Mohammed said leaders have committed to identify and implement practical measures that will increase people’s resilience.

“The world leaders commit to seriously invest in Infrastructure and housing, and work towards reducing economic losses due to disasters which for the last years reached 1. 4 trillion US dollars,” said Mohammed.

She therefore called on all leaders to invest the 1.4 trillion US dollars in building better schools, hospitals, and roads and prepare for urbanization in the next 40 years.

“Urbanization is a serious issue as at present 60% of areas for urbanisation are yet to be built a development which if not addressed poses a great risk to sustainable development,”  she added.

The UN second in command also expressed optimism that countries will go flat out in ensuring that investments taking place in years to come are risk informed, resilient and done through genuine partnerships between public and private sectors.

Deputy Secretary General for the United Nations Ms. Amina Mohammed
“It is therefore my hope that all countries shall undertake to make disaster risk assessment a prerequisite in future investments and increase international cooperation”.

The leaders forum also committed to the 2030 agenda with a specific interest in investing in early warning systems and risk transfer.

A full high level communique is expected on Friday.

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