Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me start by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Government of Indonesia and the UNDRR Secretariat for organizing the 2022 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Guided by the principles defining the Yokohama Strategy, the Hyogo Framework, and the Sendai Framework, we have achieved significant progress in DRR, especially in preparedness for emergency response such as early warning and evacuation. This is shown in the statistics. Based on the data from ADRC member countries, we have seen a downward trend in the number of people killed despite the increasing frequency and magnitude of weather-related disasters. However, there is a growing challenge in terms of people affected and economic losses, as these numbers continue to show an increasing trend. This suggests that many countries remain vulnerable to disasters due to the accumulated risks brought about by rapid urbanization and pandemics, which are exacerbated by climate change. As revealed in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is often the vulnerable populations who are severely affected by disasters. This clearly shows that our next urgent task is to target on preventing recurrent disasters by fundamentally reducing the disaster risks among the vulnerable populations.
From this perspective, the Sendai Framework, particularly Priority Action 3: “Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience” should be our major agenda for the remaining years up to 2030. ADRC will explore the nexus between development and DRR policies and mainstream DRR into infrastructure development and planning policies. Our goal is to further contribute in reducing the number of casualties and economic losses from disasters in order to help achieve sustainable development. In the implementation of our agenda, human resource development and data management represent two pillars of ADRC initiatives to be promoted with our member countries. Since these initiatives are aligned with achieving the global targets of the Sendai Framework, it is my privilege to share with you ADRC’s progress and milestones in these areas.
The first pillar is human resource development. I would like to highlight two programmes under this first pillar. One is the visiting researcher (VR) programme. Annually, ADRC welcomes visiting researchers from our 31-member countries to Japan. They set their own research agendas, and while in Japan, ADRC organizes their visits to DRR-related organizations and research institutions. This will allow researchers not only to obtain the latest knowledge and technologies that is beneficial in promoting DRR efforts in their countries but also to have an opportunity to understand the philosophical background of DRR measures through discussions with Japanese researchers and officials working at the frontlines. This experience motivates visiting researchers to lead and enhance the implementation of DRR measures in their home countries. The network of these visiting researchers is a part of our key asset for our future actions.
Another programme is the DRR trainings, which are commissioned by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). These trainings are focused on proactive investment in DRR, including methods of developing regional DRR plans and local DRR strategies. ADRC conducts these trainings regionally in Asia, Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In both programmes, the target beneficiaries are officials from central and local governments ranging from diverse sectors such as infrastructure development, planning, and finance in addition to DRR sector.
The second pillar is data management. Lack of data has always been a challenge in the implementation of DRR activities. Data, and its analysis, is essential at every stage of implementing DRR activities, such as in: identifying hazards and risks for cost-effective DRR investments; conducting effective emergency response; and implementing build-back-better recovery and reconstruction. Data also serves as a vital tool to conduct an evidence-based mid-term-review of the Sendai Framework. Since we need to identify what we have achieved and what are the remaining challenges based on evidence, the collection of data and its analysis is becoming increasingly crucial to promote evidence-based DRR. For this purpose, ADRC has made two contributions.
Firstly, ADRC introduced the GLIDE number system, which gives common but unique numbers to disasters all over the world. The GLIDE system does not only support the integration of DRR data in each country, but it also improves the efficiency of retrieval of information on historical and on-going disasters from various databases across different countries and organizations. This will be helpful in promoting evidence-based DRR measures, as well as in monitoring the progress of the Sendai Framework.
Secondly, ADRC provides disaster information by utilizing Earth Observation Satellites through the “Sentinel Asia” with a cooperation of seven Asian countries and a region. Under this initiative, we provide satellite images of disaster sites to Sentinel-Asia members upon request, so that they can conduct emergency response operation effectively and efficiently by assessing the situation of the disaster based on the provided information. Furthermore, ADRC is also utilizing another type of satellite system known as the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) to augment DRR communication, especially for early warning in small islands or mountainous areas where ground-based communications network is limited. Together with the Office of National Space Policy in the Cabinet Office of Japan, ADRC has been conducting a test demonstration for sending early warning message via satellites to enhance redundancies in case of network disruptions during extreme disaster events. ADRC will continue to share DRR information as well as the latest technologies of satellite observations to complement costly ground-based observations.
Let me now close my remarks by re-emphasizing the importance of DRR investment. According to one study, children born in 2020 will experience up to seven times more disasters than the generation born in the 1960s. In this regard, Spending on DRR measures can be seen as an investment for our future generations. It is an investment to ensure resilient, sustainable and inclusive growth. I really hope that the discussions here in Bali will help identify the collaborative actions where ADRC can further add value in the implementation of the Sendai Framework.