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Senate Commends Former UNISDR Head

January 19, 2016

The Senate on Tuesday, 19 January 2016, adopted Senator Loren Legarda’s Proposed Senate Resolution No. 1700 commending Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, who recently concluded her term as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The Senate honored Wahlstrom for her invaluable role in mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in international development frameworks and supporting the implementation of key disaster risk reduction and management programs in the Philippines.

Legarda said, “Ms. Wahlstrom has remained consistent in advocating for disaster risk reduction and management policies to reduce losses for countries which are vulnerable to natural hazards and climate change impacts, particularly in the Philippines where her engagement with parliamentarian champions supported the strong legislative framework embodied in the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010, which she has often cited as model legislation.”

In her capacity as head of the UNISDR, Wahlstrom served as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster risk reduction efforts and providing institutional support for the implementation of the 10-year plan called the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 which aimed to build resilience of communities against natural hazards, and its successor, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which sets priorities for action and clear actionable targets for reducing disaster risk and disaster losses.

“Margareta’s advocacy on topics such as safe schools and hospitals engaged the Department of Education and local governments on school safety assessment, disaster risk reduction in education and preparedness in schools; and her engagement with the private sector resulted in the launch in the Philippines of the Risk Sensitive Societies (ARISE) with now more than 20 companies as members sharing best practices on improving business continuity planning, public and private partnerships for pre-disaster planning, and disaster risk education for the private sector,” Legarda added.

Wahlstrom has likewise systematically engaged with communities at risk with particular focus given to a different group each year since 2008 – starting with children and youth, women, persons with disabilities, the elderly and indigenous people, resulting in a stronger voice for these groups from the Philippines in various global fora and policy-making processes.