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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

11 November 2022


Excellency Dr. Han Seung-soo, HELP Chair and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea,

Excellency Dr. Basuki Hadimuljono, Minister of Public Works and Housing of Indonesia,

Excellencies, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you at this special event of the G20 on “Building Back Stronger from Impacts of COVID-19, Climate Change, and Disasters.”

Amidst the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters continue to unfold unabated.

The recent floods in Pakistan ensuing from a “monster monsoon” demonstrate that climate-related disasters are increasing in intensity and affecting the most vulnerable of our populations more and more.  

Building resilience to climate-related disasters is critical to safeguarding people’s lives, their livelihoods and quality of life as well as economic growth.  

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Report assesses the human and economic costs of converging natural and biological hazards that are occurring along with climate change.

Let me share three key messages from the Report to further our discussions on building disaster and climate resilience.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic shows that countries across the globe are ill-prepared to deal with multiple overlapping and cascading crises.

Second, the Report estimates that if we do nothing, then under the worst-case climate change scenario, annual economic losses could rise to $1.3 trillion, or 4.2 per cent of the region’s GDP.

Third, the Report notes that annual adaptation costs under the same worst-case climate scenario could amount to $270 billion, equivalent to 0.85 per cent of regional GDP, which is only one-fifth of the estimated annual economic losses of 4.2 per cent of regional GDP. 


It is critical for countries to prioritize and invest now in building resilience.

At ESCAP, we have long advocated for shifting disaster risk reduction from a single hazard, single sector perspective to a multi-hazard, multi-sectoral and systemic perspective.

Towards this end, let me offer some key solutions.

First, in what sectors will investments in resilience building yield the highest returns? We propose five areas: namely, early warning systems, new infrastructure, dryland crop production, including related water resource management, and increased protection of mangroves.

Second, these investments must be strategically adapted to local contexts. Our subregional reports present customized recommendations for adaptation solutions.

Third, technology and technology-driven platforms will be the way forward for effective and evidence-based decision-making. These include using the next generation of GIS-based analytics, remote sensing and satellite imagery from regional space-faring countries and global organizations to ensure that investments and decision making are risk-informed.

To support countries in using these technologies effectively, in 2021, we launched the Asia-Pacific Risk and Resilience Portal with the goal of creating a platform that is user-friendly for policymakers to access a vast array of scientific information on various climate and hazard risks.

Furthermore, following the recently concluded Fourth Space Ministerial Conference hosted by the Government of Indonesia,  we are conducting a follow-up study on the operational modalities of operationalizing Indonesia’s proposal of setting up a virtual constellation of satellites for the continuous sharing of imagery for pre-disaster risk reduction and better disaster preparedness and response.   


This special event will be key to delivering policy urgency to the G20 leaders and advocating for the prioritization of investments in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction as a critical component to realizing a more resilient and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

I look forward to further strengthening our collaboration as we build climate resilience to ensure that no one is left behind.

I wish you a very successful event.

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