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Highlights for
Tuesday, 18 January 2005

The World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) opened on Tuesday, 18 January, in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. In the morning and afternoon, the Conference heard opening statements, addressed organizational matters and established a Main Committee to discuss the WCDR draft programme outcome document (framework for action) and declaration, which held its first meeting in the afternoon. In the Thematic Segment, two high-level round tables took place, and sessions of the five thematic clusters convened. Above photo: Delegates to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction opened the meeting with a moment of silence
for the victims of the December 26 earthquake-tsunami. 

Opening Plenary: 

Above photo: The dais during the opening plenary. 

Video Message of the Secretary General to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, Kofi Annan. (Linked to ISDR's WCDR website) 

Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in his opening statement noted the increase of the number of people killed by natural disaster by fifty percent from the previous decade. Above photo: Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko listens to the Jan Egeland's opening statement.

Japan's Emperor Akihito stressed the importance of learning from past disasters. 

Junichiro Koizumi
, Prime Minister of Japan, outlined the various Japanese international cooperative efforts in disaster reduction such as increased support of capacity building in developing countries.

Yoshitaka Murata, Japan's Minister of State for Disaster Management, highlighted the lessons learned from past disasters in Japan and gave examples of resilience-building efforts. 

Toshizo Ido, Hyogo Governor, invited participants to visit the public forum and attend the special sessions on tsunami early warning systems. 


Uganda stated that challenges faced by African countries in carrying out disaster reduction activities include inadequate resources and equipment. Above photo: Moses Ali (Uganda)

Kazakhstan thanked Japan for its technical support in disaster preparedness. Above photo: Mukhambet Kopeev (Kazakhstan)

India said the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 has redefined his country’s approach to disaster reduction. Above photo: Ashoka Kumar Rastogi (India)

Thematic Segment: 

Thematic Panel Cluster 4: Reducing the underlying risk factors

Borbély László (center), Romania’s Minister Delegate for Public Works and Territory Planning, chaired the thematic panel for Cluster 4, focusing on reducing the underlying risk factors. Panelists and participants stressed: the importance of developing and implementing building standards, including retrofitting; the need to reduce the health sector’s vulnerability to disasters; and gender issues. Above photo: The dais of the Thematic Panel Cluster 4.

High Level Round Tables: 

Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director, UNEP, called for disaster reduction to be integrated in development strategies and underlined the high returns, in terms of risk reduction, of environmentally sound activities such as coral reef and mangrove protection.

Sadako Ogata, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said empowerment of local communities and grassroot organizations is key to disaster preparedness and outlined JICA’s technical cooperation activities.

Learning to live with risk:

Corazon Alma de Leon, former Chair of the Mount Pinatubo Commission, presented the Philippines' successful school-based community mobilization programme for responding to hazards. 

Peter Walker, Director of the Feinstein International Famine Center, Tufts University, chaired the second High Level Round Table on “Learning to live with risk.”

Edgardo Calderón Paredes
, Chairman of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Commission of the International Federation of the Red Cross, described the complex and reciprocal relationship between vulnerability and development, and said investing in risk reduction is investing in
development .

Toshizo Ido, Hyogo Governor, described the reconstruction process after the 1995 earthquake and highlighted Kobe’s Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution and its role as a learning center for future generations.

WCDR ENB Snapshots: 

Above photos: Jan Egeland UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator with Japanese officials opened the WCDR Public Forum 

Jan Egeland UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator visiting the public forum's exhibition booths; Media and general public waiting for the opening of the public forum.

This service was prepared in cooperation with the ISDR Secretariat


UN/ISDR (the Conference Secretariat)
UNGA Resolution A/RES/58/214 (PDF)
The Yokohama Strategy
ENB coverage of PrepCom1 for the Conference on Disaster Reduction
ENB coverage of PrepCom2 for the Conference on Disaster Reduction  
ENB summary report of PrepCom1 for the Conference on Disaster Reduction 
ENB summary report of PrepCom2 for the Conference on Disaster Reduction

ENB summary report of the Second Conference on Early Warning 


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