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Highlights for
Thursday, 20 January 2005

Delegates to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) continued to meet in sessions of the Intergovernmental and Thematic Segments on Thursday. In Plenary, the Conference heard a special session on the Indian Ocean disaster, followed by general statements by countries and intergovernmental and other organizations. The Main Committee continued addressing the draft framework for action. In the Thematic Segment, the final thematic panel was convened on governance, institutional and policy frameworks for risk reduction. Throughout the day, fifteen sessions of the thematic clusters were held. 

Above photo: The dais of the special session on the Indian Ocean Disaster, chaired by Yoshitaka Murata, WCDR President.


Special session on Indian Ocean Disaster:

Above photo L-R: Sálvano Briceño, Director, ISDR; Yoshitaka Murata, WCDR President; Kamal Ibne Yousuf Chowdury, Minister of Food and Disaster Management, Bangladesh, Dave Mwangi, Permanent Secretary, Office of the President, Kenya and Ashoka Kumar Rastogi, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, India.

Above Left: Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Science and Technology, Sri Lanka, noted the devastation of the fishing and tourism economy; Adik Bantarso, Head, Bureau for Cooperation, National Coordination Agency For Refugee And Disaster Relief, Indonesia, underscored Indonesia’s infrastructure damage; Suporn Ratanakin,  Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Thailand, stressed tax, loan and regulatory relief for restoring livelihoods; Ian Wilderspin, International Federation of the Red Cross, emphasized the importance of involving vulnerable populations in EW system design.  

Above right: John Horekens, Coordinator of WCDR and
Sálvano Briceño, Director, ISDR

Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, commended the international community’s unprecedented response, noting that within three weeks nearly all those affected by the tsunami had food, shelter, and health, water and sanitation facilities.

Hans-Joachim Daerr, Germany’s Director-General for Global Issues, the United Nations, Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, offered to host an international EW conference in early 2006.

Sadako Ogata
, JICA President, warned against ‘reconstructing poverty.’

Amb. Thomas Baker, US, suggested calling upon the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Robert Owen-Jones, Environment Director, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, recommended that an Indian Ocean EW system make use of existing EW systems.


Main Committee:  

The Main Committee made some progress during the day but encountered difficulties on issues such as the legal status of the framework for action, references to finance, the MDGs and the review process. Several informal contact groups were trying to fight a Friday deadline to resolve contentious issues and negotiations are expected to continue working well into the night. Above photos L-R: Main Committee Chair Marco Ferrari (Switzerland); Michael Peay and Donna Lee of the United States in discussion with Mohammad Hossein Moghimi of Iran. 

Above photos L-R: Juana Nuñez (Mexico); Joyce Mosweu (Botswana) and Jorge Osella (Argentina)

Above photos L-R: Nicolas Nzoyoum  (Cameroon), Fredrik Arthúr (Norway) and Shelley-Ann Clarke-Hinds (Trinidad and Tobago)

Thematic segment:  
Thematic Panel Cluster 1: Governance, institutional and policy frameworks for risk reduction 

Amb. Glaudine Mtshali, South African Permanent Mission in Geneva, chaired the panel and said that good governance is a prerequisite to elevating disaster reduction on the development agenda.

Irmgard Schwaetzer, Chairman, German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV), presented on the role of national platforms and said that good governance in risk management requires a multi-stakeholder, multi-level and multi-disciplinary approach.

Kenneth Westgate, Senior Regional Advisor, UNDP, highlighted the importance of political commitment, multi-stakeholder participation, and financial resources to achieve good governance in disaster risk reduction, and presented voluntary targets. He added that all donor assistance and lending programmes should include a full analysis of disaster risks and make provision for their mitigation.

Martin Owor, Assistant Commissioner, Uganda's Department of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, noted that a handful of African countries have developed national strategies for disaster reduction.


Thematic Cluster 2: Session 2.1 
Integrated flood risk management through appropriate knowledge sharing and capacity building systems

On capacity building, Andreas Haiduk, Jamaica’s Water Resources Authority, discussed lessons learned from the use of flood warning tools, including flood forecast tables.


On knowledge sharing, Slobodan Simonovic, University of Western Ontario, detailed interagency flood-response activities.

Above photo L-R: Bruce Stewart
, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology and Akira Terakawa, Secretariat for Preparatory Activities of UNESCO-PWRI Center co-chaired the session, which included panels on knowledge sharing and capacity building.

WCDR ENB Snapshots: 

Above photos L-R: Photos from the reception hosted by the Government of Japan

Above photos: WCDR local volunteers wearing the Kimono, a Japanese traditonal dress 

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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