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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

11 November 2022


Excellency Minister of State, Ms. Khadeeja Naseem, Chair of the 7th Session of the ESCAP Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction,

Dr. M. Ravichandran, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Earth Science and the Chair of the RIMES Council,

Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO),

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to join you at 14th Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) Council Meeting.

Let me begin with what the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said recently on the devastating floods in Pakistan: “The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids -- the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding.”

Not only have the extreme weather events led to catastrophic loss of life, livelihoods and infrastructure damage, but the impacts of the flooding will also now lead the country into a food crisis and public health emergency.

We must call for an “Early Warning for All by 2027.”

Access to impact-based and risk-informed multi-hazard early warning has thus emerged as part of the essential life-saving infrastructure, and this is all the more so in Asia and the Pacific.

This is why the work of RIMES is essential.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Our “Asia-Pacific Disaster Report for ESCAP’s subregions 2022” shows that under all climate-change scenarios, compared to global averages, Asia and the Pacific will be most impacted by extreme events.

Allow me to delve deeper into three recommendations:

First: Embark on transformative adaptation measures with an emphasis on risk-informed development policies and investments in those vulnerable subregions which are likely to be impacted the most under 1.5-to-2-degree warming scenarios. Here the adaptation gaps are critical.

Second: Capitalize on digital innovations and risk analytics to enhance preparedness through early warning, surveillance and strategic forecasting to manage cascading and systemic crises.

Third: Unlock the potential of regional and subregional cooperation to address the region’s shared vulnerabilities and risks.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

RIMES and ESCAP have been working together to address multi-hazard disaster risks and enhance regional cooperation efforts.

The continued collaboration with RIMES will ensure that the processes linked to the larger Sustainable Development Goals keep a focus on building disaster and climate resilience.

We cannot underestimate the critical role of early warning systems in protecting lives and livelihoods.

As our key partner in implementing ESCAP’s work on building climate resilience, I look forward to further strengthening our collaboration as we work together to realize the collective vision of Early Warning for All.

I wish you a very successful event.

Thank you very much.

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