Deputy Vice-President, Mr. Pourmohammadi,
Head of National Disaster Management Organization, Mr. Najjar,
My colleague, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Zahedi
Ladies and Gentleman,
I am very pleased to be here this morning, and I bid you all a very good morning from the United Nations in Iran.
As you know, the Asia and the Pacific region remains the most disaster-prone region in the world.
Despite important achievements in developing risk reduction and resilience building capacities by many countries of the region, various disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, and sand and dust storms continue to cause loss and damage at local, national and regional level.
Disaster risk reduction and building resilience against disasters are pivotal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Information and knowledge on disaster risk and natural hazards are essential in order to achieve tangible and measurable progress in disaster risk reduction.
Here, in the Islamic Republic of Iran we are exposed to various types of natural hazards and unfortunately in the past, the country has been affected by severe disasters.
Iran has gained valuable experiences and developed considerable knowledge on disaster risk reduction and management. Effective response to major disasters such as Bam and Kermanshah earthquakes in 2003 and 2017 and to many other disasters such as floods, draught and sand and dust storms are a testimony for Iran’s capacity to respond to natural hazards and disasters.
The establishment of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM) based on ESCAP Resolution 71/11 and with the generous support of the Government of Iran is a great achievement and an important step toward enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience building in the region.
APDIM’s strategic goals are to:
1) Establish a comprehensive regional disaster information platform,
2) Develop capacities of the countries and organizations of the region in disaster information management, and
3) Provide services for cross-border disasters risk and hazards which are highly relevant and much needed.
Disaster information management is critical in all aspects and areas of disaster risk reduction and resilience building. Holding the “High-Level Expert Consultation Meeting on Disaster Information Management” this week in Tehran is a valuable opportunity to discuss ways and means for expanding and enhancing regional cooperation in this regard.
This important regional meeting will be followed by the official opening of APDIM Office and the third session of APDIM Governing Council tomorrow. On behalf of the UN Country Team in Iran, I wish to congratulate the Government of Iran and ESCAP for this important and landmark success.
For the first time, a set of interconnected agreements has the potential to catalyze aid and investments that are sensitive to trade-offs between economic, social and environmental priorities: Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, agreed in March 2015 was the first of a series of landmark agreements: Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, July 2015); Sustainable Development Goals (New York, September 2015); Paris Agreement (Paris, December 2015) and the New Urban Agenda (October 2016).
Coherence across core international agendas (disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development) is essential to be successful in promoting and implementing DRR, to reduce the number of people affected especially in the most disaster-prone areas in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States and ensuring a development that can be truly sustainable.
Countries agreed on a set of 38 indicators to measure progress against the seven targets of Sendai as well as the approved use of seven of those 38 indicators for SDG 1 - eradicating poverty, SDG 11 - sustainable cities and communities, and SDG 13 - climate action. These developments reflect the commitment to place disaster risk reduction at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.
This common reporting system will enhance international, national and local knowledge and understanding of the inherent linkages and interdependencies between sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change. APDIM has a critical role to play in this connection, given its focus on disaster information management as well as cross-border action.
Multilateralism is the only answer to the challenges we face today. We need a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system. In the end, multilateralism is nothing more than countries coming together, respecting one another, and establishing the forms of cooperation that guarantee peace and prosperity for all in a healthy planet.
Such a commitment is needed now more than ever – from all around this hall, and around our world, and to make this a reality, the UN Country Team in Iran stands ready to support the Government of Iran and the international community and support all types of cooperation within the scope of APDIM’s programmes as well as through other regional and multi-lateral cooperation mechanisms to reduce the risk and negative impact of disasters in the region.