Mr. Gary Lewis
UN Resident Coordinator
Ministry of Interior, Fatemi Square, Tehran, Iran
Salam va sobh bey kheyr.
Your Excellency, Deputy-Minister of the Interior and Head of National Disaster Management Organization, Mr. Esmaeel Najjar,
Distinguished Heads of 14 national working groups on disaster management,
Distinguished guests from different national and provincial organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My job this morning is to share with you a vision of how what you are doing in this room connects to the international community’s effort to make life safer and healthier for its citizens across the planet.
I would like to start by saying that year which just passed contained four critical international agreements that will help achieve this important goal:
- Sendai Framework – which we are here to take action to support.
- Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda that was agreed in New York in September last year.
- Paris Agreement on Climate Change in December.
- World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May of this year.
The fact that the international community of 193 countries could come together and agree on a way forward on these four important areas is an indication of growing consensus at the international level to prioritize development and resilience.
This morning we are going to focus on Sendai and what Iran has done to start to implement the framework.
But sometime later in my remarks I will also touch on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because I believe they are of critical importance to securing future sustainable development of humanity.
I would like to congratulate Mr. Najjar, and congratulate all of you, as we see that the NDMO – the main National Disaster Risk Management Organization and focal point in Iran – has established this national secretariat for the Sendai Framework.
The result is this gathering which is the first national platform to take place in Iran for implementing the Sendai Framework.
And we at the United Nations are extremely impressed at the remarkable level of participation from different sectors across the country.
We also appreciate that the United Nations’ role has been well-considered in this regard, and that we have been invited to attend and speak at this important meeting.
As you know what we are doing here today is based on Iran’s very engaged performance under the Hyogo Framework for Action.
I indicated a little bit earlier that I would frame some of what I say in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and this is now the point where I would like to do so.
The SDGs touch 17 areas through which, if we get it right, we will be able to preserve a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.
193 countries around the world have agreed to these goals.
I have worked in the United Nations for 30 years and I have never seen such a robust, sensible and implementable set of goals for the planet.
Iran as signed up to these goals.
It is a great plan. We have no alternative plan. We have to implement this plan.
And I am happy to see that in working on Sendai, the activities relate to primarily four areas of the SDGs. These are:
- Goal 9: building resilient infrastructure.
- Goal 11: building resilient cities – which is of great importance in Iran where 70% of the population lives in cities.
- Goal 13: mitigating and adapting to climate change.
- Goal 15: securing life on land.
Now, I would also like to use this opportunity to recognize what Iran has done in the past regarding Hyogo.
Iran was one of those countries that committed itself to establishing a national disaster management organization which of course – as we know – has been strong for many years and is now headed by Mr. Najjar.
Iran has also developed disaster management centers within municipalities and in the ministries.
Iran has paid great attention to disaster risk management in its Fifth National Development Plan. And we were very impressed to see how the authorities looked upon Sendai and even translated the framework into Persian in order to allow citizens to know what was going on with the Sendai Framework.
Now, in all of this the United Nations has been supporting Iran for many years. In fact the area of disaster risk reduction and response has featured very prominently in our United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) that is currently ongoing.
Disaster risk reduction also features in our future UNDAF which was agreed mid-last year in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Araghchi.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, my point is very simple. It is that we recognize the immense steps that Iran has taken to imbed disaster risk reduction in its planning and its response. And in your future thinking and planning we are honoured that you have chosen to ask for contribution from the United Nations.
I hope therefore that my presence here and the words that I have used to convey my sentiments to you will convince you that the United Nations is here to support Iran in this important endeavor.