Ladies and Gentlemen,
The recently launched Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022, “Our World at Risk” offers a wake-up call on the challenges we face to stop the spiral of disaster destruction. But it also sets the path to move from risk to resilience.
To change course, new approaches are needed. This will require transformations in what financial and governance systems value and how systemic risk is understood and addressed. It will also require breaking down siloes to serve the most vulnerable communities. Doing more of the same will not be enough.
From droughts in the Horn of Africa to heat waves in South Asia…from the compounding impacts the COVID-19 crisis to the current war in Ukraine…we are being called to come together in new and dynamic ways to keep the promises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
We have two urgent tasks. First — we must reduce emissions in line with the 1.5-degree goal. Second —we must raise our ambitions related to investing in adaptation and resilience.
If we are serious about the 1.5-degree goal, OECD countries must urgently and drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. The leadership of the G20 nations, which account for 80 percent of global emissions, is of critical importance in this regard.
At the same time, adaptation and resilience building deserve the same attention given to mitigation. Adaptation and resilience cannot be the neglected siblings of the climate equation. Fifty per cent of the total share of climate finance must be allocated to adaptation and resilience in developing countries.
Yet, investment in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation remains abysmally low. This is despite an exponential rise in the number of disasters in recent decades, and the accompanying losses in lives, livelihoods, property and more. Weather-exposed insured asset losses exceed $60 billion per year - and this is just the tip of the iceberg, as uninsured losses are far greater. Development and financial sectors must be risk-informed to better account for the risk and costs of climate change and disasters.
The recent IPCC report highlighted that all global climate hotspots are in the developing world, and if you are living in one of these hotspots you are 15 times more likely to die from a climate impact. One way to address this inequity is through early warning systems. Yet, one third of the world’s population is still not covered by them. That is why the Secretary-General has made an important call to ensure universal coverage of early warning systems within the next five years.
The decades of experience of the disaster risk reduction community in managing extreme events and reducing disaster risk is of great value to accelerating climate action.
And the Secretary-General’s report on ‘Our Common Agenda’, which recognizes risks are increasingly global with greater potential impact, provides an opportunity to revitalize the global conversation on preparedness. To better anticipate and respond to such risks, it proposes to present a Strategic Foresight and Global Risk Report to Member States every five years. It also puts forward the idea of an Emergency Platform to respond to complex global crises to increase the readiness of the international system. I encourage all of you to lend your support to these proposals.
Finally, as we look towards COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, we must pursue with urgency the promises made at Glasgow to build the resilience of the most vulnerable populations, including those in mall island developing States and least developed countries.
We cannot leave anyone behind.
Thank you for your commitment to this essential goal.