U.N. chief urges world to learn from pandemic to strengthen disaster risk governance

FILE PHOTO: Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), speaks during an interview in New York, May 10, 2018. /VCG Photo

The United Nations Secretary General has urged the world to take lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen disaster risk governance in order to build a safer, more resilient world.

Antonio Guterres made the remarks on Tuesday as the world marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the importance of strengthening disaster risk reduction … COVID-19 has shown us that systemic risk requires international cooperation,” he said.

“To eradicate poverty and reduce the impacts of climate change, we must place the public good above all other considerations,” he added.

His call came as the number of COVID-19  cases globally surpassed the 37.87 million mark, with a death toll exceeding 1.08 million.

Held every 13 October, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction aims to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.

Guterres in his message highlighted the need for political commitment to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, which he said were critical for the aversion of disasters.

The U.N. chief’s message was reiterated by Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, who called for unified efforts to ensure disaster risk reduction.

“Good national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral linking policies in areas such as land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation,” she said.