June 6th, 2007 08:07 EST
Risk reduction is key to addressing climate change, Ban Ki-moon says
Risk reduction is critical to addressing climate change and other hazards, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to an expert meeting being held in Geneva to address the issue.
We must act with renewed commitment to save lives and livelihoods from the effects of natural hazards, particularly in developing nations, where the world`s poorest are also the most vulnerable, Â" Mr. Ban said in a video message to the first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, which opened yesterday and runs through tomorrow.
And we must act with even greater urgency given the impact of climate change, Â" he cautioned, pointing out that scientists predict more extreme weather, with rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms and droughts.
This could affect millions of people. Risk reduction is our front-line defence against these threats, Â" said Mr. Ban, calling on those present to act with common purpose Â" in addressing the problem.
Representatives of more than 100 governments are attending the meeting, which is also attracting the participation of the UN and other specialized organizations, academic institutions, financial associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups.
They will review progress made in policies adopted since the January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Japan, where countries adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10-year plan to bolster the ability of nations and communities to respond to disasters.