Legarda Addresses World Parliamentarians at IPU Session of DRR Conference in Sendai

March 12, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda will address world parliamentarians at the Parliamentary Meeting, Governance and Legislation for Disaster Risk Reduction, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on the occasion of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan.


Legarda, UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said she will urge her fellow legislators who are gathered in Sendai to take a proactive role in enhancing and implementing disaster risk reduction initiatives.


“A paradigm shift from disaster response to prevention takes more than just laws to happen. It requires acceptance of the fact that we live in a new normal that requires a more proactive mind that focuses on reducing risks and building resilience,” she said.


Legarda is among the panelists for the session on Improving Legislation for Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 March 2015. Dr. Eduardo Valencia-Ospina, Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission, will deliver the keynote speech. Other panelists are Patricia Hajabakiga, Member of Parliament of Rwanda and Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA); Timoteo Zambrano, Member of Parliament, Latin American Parliament; Guy Mitchell, Former member of the European Parliament; and a representative from the Japanese Parliament.


Legarda noted that the Parliamentary Meeting is an important venue for legislators to discuss how they can create an enabling policy environment for effective disaster risk reduction.


“As parliamentarians, we have the mandate to introduce change. We can urge our respective governments to develop risk reduction strategies that are supportive of national development agenda. We can also lay the foundation for increased investment in risk reduction in order to safeguard development gains,” she stressed.


But beyond legislation, Legarda said that the greater challenge is to ensure that laws work and are fully implemented down to the community level.


To address this, Legarda will encourage her fellow parliamentarians to urge their respective heads of state to strictly implement all laws on the environment, climate change, and disaster risk reduction; to ensure that land use plans are risk-sensitive, and that cities and human settlements are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems, efficiently and effectively communicating to the public the risks from hazards, thereby, preventing the loss of lives and livelihood.


“We must all become champions of change for the future that we want. Let the lessons of past disasters be lessons well learned, and the calls for action that reverberate after every calamity be transformed into meaningful change—change in the way we think, change in the way we live, and change in the way we pursue the development and the future we long for—for all of humanity,” Legarda concluded.


Aside from participating in the IPU Parliamentary Meeting, Legarda will deliver the Philippine Statement on behalf of President Benigno Aquino III at the Third UN WCDRR. She is also co-chair with Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs Sanae Takaichi for the High Level Multi-stakeholder Partnership Dialogue on Mobilizing Women’s Leadership in DRR; and panelist for the TV Panel Debate: Can We Expect The Private Sector To Protect Our Communities From The Impacts Of Disasters?, to be moderated by BBC World presenter, David Eades. Legarda will also attend the Special meeting of DRR Champions with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.