International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Video message by Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Crisis Bureau

October 13, 2021

Greetings friends and colleagues, on this International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2021.

If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to work together if we are to overcome shared challenges.

Climate change; natural disasters; man-made conflict; the pandemic itself – these are the current multidimensional threats which must be met with collective effort.

This lesson is especially pertinent when it comes to supporting disaster-prone countries to reduce and prevent risk. This year’s theme,international cooperation, reminds us that we must align our collective strengths in order to do this. Partnerships are also key to achieving the Sendai Seven goals.

This is Target F of the Sendai Framework, now in its sixth year after being adopted by UN Member States in Japan in 2015.

According to a report to be released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR, in the previous decade from 2010-2019, the funding allocated for disaster risk reduction accounts for just 0.5% of the total amount spent on international aid.

A lack of investment undermines efforts by developing countries to adapt. In fact, only 58% of the World’s Least Developed Countries, report having national disaster risk reduction strategies.

Disasters impact low- and middle-income countries disproportionately, particularly in terms of mortality, numbers of people injured, displaced and homeless, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure.

International cooperation is essential to ensure that no one is left behind in disaster-prone settings, including women, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, migrants and indigenous people.

Today only further reminds us that we must come together as an international community, as only together can we save the planet.

Thank you for your collective efforts.