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Disaster Risk Reduction Meet of Asian Parliamentarians in Manila – Nov 25-27, 2010

November 22, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA IN A PRIVILEGE SPEECH ANNOUNCED THAT LEADERS FROM ALL OVER ASIA, PARTICULARLY FROM AFGHANISTAN, BANGLADESH, CAMBODIA, INDIA, INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, MALDIVES, NEPAL AND THAILAND, ARE EN ROUTE TO MANILA FOR A CONSULTATIVE MEETING FOR ASIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, WHICH WILL BE HELD FROM NOVEMBER 25 TO 27.
“This is a prelude to the Asia Leader’s Summit in Manila next year which I will again jointly organize with the United Nations.”
The Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Climate Change explained that this meeting aims to make disaster risk reduction a regional, national and community priority in order to increase disaster resilience and protect our precious development gains.
“By this meeting, we also hope to integrate our disaster risk reduction work with efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”
“Asia Pacific is struck by more disasters as compared to its other regional neighbors. A United Nations Report presented at the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in South Korea last October presented a definitive lay of the land – “People in the Asia-Pacific region are four times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than those in Africa; and 25 times more likely than those in Europe or North America. Moreover, it is alarming to note that from 2000-2008, the region’s share in global disaster deaths increased to as much as eighty-three percent (83%).”
Legarda emphasized, “For a region that has 690 million of its population surviving on a US$1 a day, these impacts are daunting. Our sense of urgency needs to be translated into concrete actions. We need to discuss the ways forward for creating a more enabling environment for:
1. Making disaster risk reduction a tool for achieving sustainable poverty reduction;
2. Making schools and hospitals safer from disasters;
3. Making disaster risk reduction gender sensitive; and
4. Increasing national and local investment (both human and finance) in disaster risk reduction. ”
“The upcoming Consultative Meeting will leverage on the role and duty of legislators to make change happen. Parliamentarians are political leaders mandated by the people to convey local concerns to national governments, oversee national progress and investments, and campaign on issues affecting the daily lives and livelihoods of their constituents.”
“When we legislate for disaster-resilient development and promote disaster risk reduction in our constituencies, the entire country triumphs.”
“It is disturbing to discover that in the last 30 years, the number of disaster events have increased 3 times in the Philippines. Although the reported number of deaths has slightly decreased over the same number of the population affected by disasters, the economic losses from these events have drastically increased by more than seventeen-fold.”
“The government can use the example of the Kingdom of Bhutan, which uses a “Gross National Happiness” index in measuring their country’s development. Along with the gross domestic product and other traditional economic yardsticks that measure mere physical outputs, they take into account other factors that affect the well-being of their people, such as good governance, equitable socio-economic growth, environmental protection and cultural preservation,” Legarda recommended.
“The government can use the example of the Kingdom of Bhutan, which uses a “Gross National Happiness” index in measuring their country’s development. Along with the gross domestic product and other traditional economic yardsticks that measure mere physical outputs, they take into account other factors that affect the well-being of their people, such as good governance, equitable socio-economic growth, environmental protection and cultural preservation,” Legarda recommended.
“Climate change poses a great challenge to achieving sustainable development. But if we include similar GNH variables in the government’s development indicators, which I would gladly work on with our economic managers, then maybe, our policies that seek to protect the environment and ensure that we have adequate resources for the future will be strongly enforced.”
Legarda concluded, ” After this conference, the Philippines will attain invaluable knowledge from its neighboring countries and will build a strong working relationship with each other for the well-being of our countries, and Asia as a whole.”.