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Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)

14–18 March 2015 | Sendai, Japan

Highlights for Saturday, 14 March 2015

ENB Meeting Coverage

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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 14 Mar | 15 Mar | 16 Mar | 17 Mar | 18 Mar | Summary

Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan at the opening ceremony of the third UN World
Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan

UNWCDRR-III The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction opened today in Sendai, Japan, attended by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, around 20 Heads of State and Government, and many country delegations, and 8,000 participants. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, and many other dignitaries addressed the Conference.

Delegates at the opening plenary elected Eriko Yamatani, Minister of State for Disaster Management, Japan, as conference president. Yamatani noted that the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) has functioned as an effective guideline since its adoption, but that some gaps remain to be addressed in a strong post-2015 framework on DRR. Secretary-General Ban urged all concerned to ensure an ambitious outcome at the WCDRR. Prime Minister Abe announced Japan’s contribution of US$4 billion for the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for DRR, which will focus on institution-building, material assistance and the promotion of regional cooperation. Laurent Fabius, incoming president of the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21), launched an appeal to assist the most vulnerable through a “Climate Disaster Warning” mechanism.

After the opening ceremony, delegates dealt with organizational matters and engaged in an exchange of views. Several high-level delegates emphasized the links between international discussions and negotiations on DRR, financing for development, climate and the post-2015 development agenda. In the afternoon, a high-level multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on “Mobilizing women’s leadership in disaster risk reduction” convened, and several working sessions took place on topics including technological hazards, disaster risk transfer and insurance, and commitments to safe schools. Delegates agreed to form a Main Committee to negotiate and finalize the draft post-2015 framework on DRR, which met in the afternoon.


Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, handed over the conference gavel to Eriko Yamatani, Minister of State
for Disaster Management, Japan

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

Emiko Okuyama, Mayor of Sendai, Japan

Laurent Fabius, Incoming President of the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Regina Pritchett, representative of the nine Major Groups

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan

Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe

Baldwin Lonsdale, President of the Republic of Vanuatu

King Mswati III of Swaziland

Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, in conversation with Eriko
, WCDRR President


L-R: Erdal Altuncu, Head of Department, General Directorate of Insurance, Undersecretariat of Treasury, Turkey; Zoubida Allaoua,
World Bank; Kengo Sakurada, Chairman, General Insurance Association of Japan; Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Defence, Minister
of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, New Zealand; Arup Chatterjee, Principal Financial Sector Specialist, Asian Development Bank,
Moderator; Gil Beltran, Undersecretary and Chief Economist, Department of Finance, the Philippines; Michael J. Morrissey,
President and Chief Executive Officer, International Insurance Society; and Nelson Chege Kuria, Group Chief Executive Officer,
CIC Insurance Group, Kenya

Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Defence, Minister of Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, New Zealand, outlined the valuable role the insurance industry had played in recovery actions following the major Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and encouraged greater private sector involvement in pricing disaster risks globally.

Kengo Sakurada, Chairman, General Insurance Association of Japan, said that Japan's earthquake insurance system, in place for nearly half a century, handled more than 780,000 claims, worth more than US$12 billion, following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.


Session Moderator (center) Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,
called for a multi-sectoral approach to addressing disasters.

Mahafaly Solonandrasana Olivier, Minister for Home Affairs and Decentralization, Madagascar, called for the development of effective communication strategies to manage populations affected by technological disasters.

Amedeo Cicala, Mayor of Viggiano, Italy, spoke on his city’s development of a bottom-up approach to disaster prevention and preparedness through working with local institutions and creating a knowledge economy on DRR.

Izumi Nakamitsu, Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director, Crisis Response
Unit, UNDP, stressed the need to identify and manage risks associated with cascading disasters.


L-R: Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP; and Ban
, UN Secretary-General

Rachel Kyte, Vice-President and Special Envoy, Climate Change Group, World Bank Group, highlighted that evidence suggests that for each dollar invested in DRR, US$7 could be saved on reconstruction.

Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP, declared that UNDP comes to this conference with a clear message: “DRR and development are directly connected”.


L-R: Session Co-Chairs Loren Legarda, Senator, the Philippines, and Sanae Takaichi, Minister for Internal Affairs and
Communications, Japan.
Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, gave a keynote address at the high-level partnership dialogue.

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, World Food Programme, noted that women are often the first responders in disaster situations and that gender-smart approaches are critical to effective DRR implementation.

Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources, noted that in the EU women are underrepresented in senior positions in disaster management organisations.


The Philippines presented initiatives related to the improvement of DRR measures in schools focusing on: recovery and rehabilitation;
preparedness; response; prevention; and mitigation.


View of the main committee informal session reviewing a draft Post-2015 framework for DRR.

WCDRR Snapshots

Cilene Victor, Brazil, presented on how communications can build resilience at the WCDRR Ignite Stage.
WCDRR delegates from the Philippines


Specific funding for coverage of this conference has been provided by UNISDR

Daily Web CoverageAbout | 14 Mar | 15 Mar | 16 Mar | 17 Mar | 18 Mar | Summary