UN General Assembly Releases Disaster Debate Summary

25 February 2011: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has released a summary of the one-day thematic debate on disaster risk reduction (DRR), which convened on 9 February 2011, in New York, US, and included two panel sessions on "invest today for a safer tomorrow," and "addressing the challenges of disaster risk in urban settings."

Organized by the office of the UNGA President Joseph Deiss, with the support of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), the debate aimed to encourage governments to invest in effective DRR efforts, and to build resilience in rapidly expanding urban areas, where risk, population and economic assets are concentrated.

Meeting participants called for: developing internationally accepted standards for DRR to ensure transparency and accountability; elaborating principles for monitoring achievements in DRR; and raising awareness to ensure that victims of disasters remain high on the international agenda, after they have dropped out of news headlines.

Panellists and participants repeated three core notions: awareness and the need to learn from the lessons of the past; the need to prioritize disaster activities; and the importance of disaster prevention. [UNGA Disaster Debate Summary]