PHL to host Asia-Pacific conference on disaster risk reduction

THE PHILIPPINES is set to host the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Risk Reduction in October 2024.

“The Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference will serve as a platform for knowledge-sharing in terms of what is ongoing, in terms of the policy work and the government work of other governments in the Asia-Pacific region,” Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said at a pre-launch event on Monday.

“The learning shared during this conference will have an impact on our own knowledge base, as well as our own practice and in the implementation of legislation already in place,” she added.

The conference is expected to draw around 3,000 delegates from over 50 countries. These delegates will include intergovernmental, international, and national organization.

The conference seeks to assess progress on implementing the Sendai Framework, which hopes to reduce the impact of calamities on mortality, health, economies, and infrastructure.

“Science and technology are at the core of the disaster risk reduction. A specific focus on the vulnerability exposure of the Asia-Pacific region is what’s important to us in the Philippines,” Ms. Loyzaga said.

Environment Undersecretary Marilou G. Erni said the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) will propose a budget for the event to the Department of Budget Management and the Department of Finance, seeking to tap the International Commitments Fund for 2024.

“We will be looking at how we might be able to match both public and private (funding), so that amount will not all come from public funds,” Ms. Loyzaga added.

Separately, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in a statement that most of the countries in the Asia-Pacific are “insufficiently prepared to face extreme weather events and natural disasters.”

“Measures to put the economies of Asia and the Pacific on a low-carbon pathway and adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, must be front and center of the region’s post-pandemic recovery,” UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said.

The ESCAP said some countries have fallen short of their commitments under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in order to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Without decisive action, global warming will remain a central driver of poverty and inequality in the region — with disastrous consequences across the continent and existential ones in Pacific small island developing States,” ESCAP said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera