Keynote Address at the
2018 World Disasters Report Launch
Monday, 12 November 2018
Vienna International Centre (VIC)
15:00 – 15:15, Conference Room C3, 7th floor, UN VIE C-building
Dear Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and President of the Swiss Red Cross, Annemarie Huber-Hotz,
Dear Under Secretary General Jemilah Mahmood of the IFRC,
Dear Chief Luc St-Pierre of Space Applications at the UNOOSA,
Dear Secretary-General Verner Kerschbaum of Red Cross Austria,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to take part in the launch of the World Disasters Report 2018 today at the Vienna International Centre.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been a frontier drawing attention to the world’s complex challenges, looking into the areas where emergency interventions need to be addressed and advanced.
With its research and analysis, the IFRC has provided the world with guidelines to meet the needs and to improve the wellbeing of humankind exposed to disasters and health emergencies.
I would like to underline my appreciation to the IFRC for its dedication to saving lives, protecting livelihoods, strengthening recovery from disasters and crises, enabling healthy and safe living, and promoting social inclusion and a culture of non-violence and peace.
Now that the year of the final review of the Strategy 2020 is approaching, it is more timely than ever for IFRC and all of us, to closely examine the actions implemented and find out where gaps persist between the “expected” and the “actual” outcomes.
In order to reduce these gaps, the 2018 World Disasters Report aims to provide guidance for the international humanitarian sector, on how to better respond to the needs of the most world´s vulnerable people and how to mobilize the power of humanity.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that only 97 million were selected to receive humanitarian aid out of about 134 million people in need this year. A lack of global investment in disaster relief leaves tens of millions of people exposed to preventable disaster risks. Out of 25 billion dollars required, less than 12 billion dollars have been received, and this should alert all of us in the international community and particularly donors to do more and reach further.
The 2018 World Disasters Report exemplifies five areas of concern which the international humanitarian system misses when dealing with people in need:
First poor information about who is most in need and second limited understanding about how to help them best as programmes are not always targeting the right people in the right way. Third inadequate access to people who need support, and fourth a lack of flexibility in expanding humanitarian assistance to people outside the traditional areas of conflict, disaster, displacement or disease. And fifth: inadequate funding.
Solving the problems of our rapidly changing world needs everyone, every country, and the international community’s attention and their cooperation. Global issues need global solutions, and global solutions must not leave anyone behind. This requires strengthened partnerships in global policy-making that builds resilience and reduces vulnerability of people.
During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I sought to build international partnerships and encouraging national, regional and international actors to ensure a more
peaceful, livable, prosperous and sustainable world. I try to continue that work with various roles that I have taken on, continuing to build bridges and raise awareness also with the humble Centre for Global Citizens, which I founded here in Austria together with my good friend Dr. Heinz Fischer.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Following up on the Paris Agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in October this year a Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in the Netherlands. Together with Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Gerogieva, CEO of World Bank, I lead the Commission to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions. As you surely know the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Elhadj As Sy, was also appointed as a member of the Global Commission on Adaptation.
The Commission works to address opportunities to become more resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts and natural hazards. It urges governments and businesses to incorporate climate change risks into their social and economic development plans and investments and makes sure that the world’s most vulnerable people receive the benefit.
Climate change is merely one of many causes of natural disasters, and there are countless number of other challenges that the world needs to pay attention to. More than half of the emergencies the IFRC responds to are a direct result of weather-related events. And the majority of the other operations are compounded by and made more complex by changing climate.
Each and every one of us must all play our part with our own expertise to tackle these increasing global challenges. We simply must continue to work to leave no one behind and move forward, together.
Thanks to the American Red Cross, I was given an opportunity to join students from 42 countries
to travel across the United States visiting Red Cross chapters, and that is when I opened my eyes to the world and met President John F. Kennedy, who said to us “there are no national boundaries; there is only a question of whether we can extend a helping hand.”
This strong message is engraved in my memory and I continue to try to do my share as a global citizen to help the ones in need. All our helping hands are needed.
With the launch of the 2018 World Disasters Report today, I urge the international community, states, and individuals to come together to further reach marginalized areas and to give hand to people in vulnerable situations. No one should be left behind, and the 2018 World Disasters Report will draw the lines of a picture that the world can paint together to make this world livable for all.
Thank you for your attention. /End/