Distinguished delegates, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning and a warm welcome to this year’s Advisory Council Meeting of the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness, which is an annual meeting also coincides with our commemoration of World Tsunami Awareness Day.
I would like to extend a very warm welcome to the Council members for this term -- India, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Thailand – as well as all observers and partners present today both in person as well as online.
I would like to iterate on the point that the UN Secretary-General has called for an “Early Warning for All” by 2027.
Access to impact-based and risk-informed multi-hazard early warning has emerged as part of essential infrastructure. It is essential because it is life-saving – and in Asia and the Pacific, the world’s most disaster-prone region -- it is integral to our goal of leaving no one behind as well as overall SDGs.
The Trust Fund’s investments have helped to build resilience, share good practices and fund life-saving work over these past 16 years.
However, access to early warning in the Asia-Pacific region is still not universal. The coverage of multi-hazard early warning systems especially for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), which disproportionately bear the costs of disasters, unfortunately, it is significantly lower than the regional average.
Through its current strategy for 2021 to 2024, developed with the guidance of the Advisory Council, the Trust Fund is pursuing a programmatic approach for people-centric investments, working more closely and continuously with key regional cooperation partners.
The Trust Fund continues to identify and support several initiatives across the region that builds on past successes. These initiatives lend themselves to continuation in a phased approach.
Today we will hear of the achievements of two programmes under implementation, and we extend an invitation to the Advisory Council to consider their continued support:
- Project 30, implemented through the Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), continues to support the established and new seasonal climate forums with multi-hazard and multi-sectoral scopes as well as investments in impact-based forecasting capacities of national Hydro-Met services.
- Project 31, implemented by UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), continues to address the unmet needs in supporting regional cooperation in the North-West Indian Ocean for communities at risk of near-field tsunamis.
Additional programmatic opportunities will also be presented for your guidance and consideration for support.
Each programme has the potential to be catalytic to the advancement of subregional disaster preparedness priorities and capitalizes on previous achievements made through Trust Fund initiatives.
We look forward to receiving the Advisory Council’s guidance.
In closing, I would like to thank you all for your continued commitment and generous investments to scale-up collective regional action for disaster preparedness.