UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction - Official Statement by Mr Tadateru Konoé, President of IFRC, Sendai, Japan, 14-18 March 2015

Published: 15 March 2015

Mr Chair, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at this third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Our IFRC is represented here by 120 delegates from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, all sharing the firm belief that this conference will set a new milestone in building a safer, more resilient world.

What we need today is a forward-looking plan to address the critical risks that compromise sustainable development, and to enable communities become stronger and more resilient. The post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction may well be this plan.

To realize this ambitious plan, we, the IFRC, urge Governments, donors and partners to take action in key areas. Let me please emphasize some of them:

  • First, to build the capacity and resilience of local institutions for effective partnership by recognizing the role of volunteers.
  • Second, to establish effective disaster risk reduction platforms at local levels.
  • Third, to ensure adequate, long-term, flexible, and diverse financing by public and private donors to scale up the building of community resilience.
  • Fourth, to uphold dignity, improve health, and increase community resilience by scaling up efforts to ensure sustainable access to water and sanitation.
  • Fifth, to invest in public awareness and education for changing minds and behaviours of current and future generations.
  • Sixth, to adopt strong legal frameworks on disaster risk reduction.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We must rise up to the unprecedented challenges confronting us today. And we have to ensure that future generations will not have to pay the price of our indecision. It is now a matter of collective responsibility, collective action and collective accountability.

Through our network of 17 million volunteers and 189 National Societies reaching tens of millions of people through disaster preparedness, risk reduction and development programmes, the IFRC is committed to making decisive actions and contributions from local to global.

To do so, we are launching today a rallying call to form and be part of the ‘One Billion Coalition for Resilience’, an initiative to scale up community and civic action on resilience.

We recognize that resilience comes from individuals and communities, and we need to work with them in the process of reconnecting with their own power and taking ownership of their lives. Reducing risks and vulnerabilities is a process that must be owned, led and carried out by the people themselves to bring about lasting change in their communities. 

Within the next ten years, the goal of the coalition is to engage at least one person in every household around the world in active steps towards enhancing community resilience. This is the IFRC’s voluntary commitment toward the following framework for disaster risk reduction and Sustainable Development Goals.

Our way forward is envisioned as a catalyst for collaboration and partnership with a wide range of actors from civil societies, public authorities, the private and education sectors, and all those who wish to contribute to this coalition of will and action, at every level from local to global.

Finally, I would like to extend the IFRC’s sincere thanks to Special Representative Margareta Wahlstrom, for her leadership and contribution to disaster risk reduction, and express my belief that under her effective stewardship, we will make great strides toward a resilient world.

Thank you very much.