The UAE on October 13 marked the annual International Day for Disaster Reduction, celebrating the efforts of people and communities around the world in reducing threats from disasters and raising awareness among the public about the risks they face in the face of crises.
The United Nations General Assembly started the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in 1989 in a bid to promote a culture of disaster mitigation and risk awareness among the communities across the world. At the same time, the day was established to boost the global efforts to tackle the impact of disasters on the people and strengthen readiness towards any crises.
In addition, the UN launched the ‘Sendai Seven’ campaign in 2016 in a bid to boost disaster risk management, saving lives and reducing losses in the aftermath of a disaster. The Sendai Seven Campaign is an advocacy initiative aimed at encouraging the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction over the next seven years. The Sendai Framework was adopted by the UN Member States in 2015 during a meeting in the northern Japanese city of Sendai - after which it was named. Significantly, the framework consists of seven targets and four priorities for action in disaster management aimed at a substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries over the next 15 years.
The UAE has emerged as a leading global model in the preparedness and management of disasters at local and international levels in line with its belief in the significance of global cooperation in mitigating the impacts of natural disasters on the communities.
The UAE has achieved a key regional and global position in disaster management strategy with the establishment of a comprehensive national emergency and crisis system in line with the objectives of the leadership and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and objectives of the leadership.
Necessary steps have been undertaken by the UAE authorities in reducing the effects of disasters and humanitarian crises faced by thousands of victims in various countries across the world. The UAE has also made adequate efforts to increase its presence in the worst-affected areas due to disasters by initiating relief aid measures and fulfilling the needs of victims without any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or religion.
This year, the UAE further increased its humanitarian presence by implementing various relief initiatives in several regions affected by disasters, despite difficult circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. From providing humanitarian support to those impacted by the Australian bush fires to assisting flood-hit countries including Bangladesh, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan, the UAE provided all forms of aid to disaster-affected regions in the world.
On the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed global attention to the importance of strengthening disaster risk reduction. At the same time, he called for the need to reducing climate disruption and environmental degradation taking note of the rising extreme weather events in the past two decades. He affirmed that without good disaster risk management and government bad situations only get worse.
"To eradicate poverty and reduce the impacts of climate change, we must place the public good above all other considerations. For these reasons and more, this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is all about strengthening disaster risk governance to build a safer and more resilient world,'' the UN Secretary-General added.