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Technical Briefing on the Joint World Bank-UN Publication: “Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention”

February 10, 2011

Technical Briefing on the Joint World Bank-UN Publication:
“Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention”

OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA

As the Philippines seeks to pursue sustainable development, the lessons of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng have taught us that we should not train our sights merely on enhancing our capacities to re-build after each and every disaster. For without effective disaster prevention, hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, billions worth of properties and livelihoods, even government’s growth and revenue targets, can be at the mercy of a single extreme weather event.

The impacts of natural hazards have been a major constraint and an important development issue that the country has to face time and again. With climate change, such hazards can be more frequent and intense.
While the occurrence of some natural hazards may be inevitable, they need not turn to be disasters. Their impact on our society and economy could be reduced, if not prevented, and our development gains preserved if risk reduction is done right.

This is the key message of the publication Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, a recent report on the economics of disaster prevention jointly produced by the World Bank and the United Nations.

We are fortunate that we are second in the world to receive this special briefing.
We are grateful that the team leader of Report, Mr. Apurva Sanghi, has come over to make the presentation. We also thank World Bank-Philippines’ Country Director Mr. Bert Hofman, and World Bank- Sector Coordinator Ms Yan Zhang, who will also share their insights.

We are joined by the Secretary of the Department of Finance Cesar Purisima, Director-General of the National Economic Development Authority Cayetano Paderanga, Jr. and Presidential Assistant for Climate Change Elizea Gozun.

We also appreciate the presence of legislators, who are chairpersons of major committees in Congress, key government officials, members of international organizations and the diplomatic corps, heads of non-government organizations and various institutions and members of the academe, who are with us today.