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UNGA Session on Water and Disasters Stresses Need to Address Climate Change

6 March 2013: Addressing the Special Thematic Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Water and Disasters, convened by the UN Secretary-General, the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) and the High Level Expert Panel on Water and Disaster (HLEP/UNSGAB), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the need to reach a “global, legally binding climate change agreement by 2015.”

The session, which took place on 6 March 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, brought together representatives of the international community, governments and civil society, who addressed water disaster issues and shared experiences on best practices.

Following keynote speeches and deliberations by high-level experts, two discussion panels were held, one on "Experience and Lessons of Water and Disasters" and the second on "Regional and Global Cooperation to Address Mega-Water-Disasters."

The UN Secretary-General stressed the need for “early warning systems, disaster education and resilient structures.” He also called on world leaders to “keep their promise” to reach a binding agreement on climate change, and underscored the need for investment in a “low-carbon, low-emissions future.”

Ban also highlighted that 2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation, noting that the Year provides an opportunity to “forge international partnerships” that reduce water-related disaster risk and impacts. He indicated that the results of the Special Session would be shared with the Fourth Meeting of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), scheduled to convened in May, and form part of discussions on the global post-2015 development agenda. [Special Session Concept Note] [Special Session Flyer] [UN Press Release] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [UNESCO Press Release]