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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

26 January 2021


Opening Remarks

Excellency Dr. Seyed Hamid Pourmohammadi, Deputy Vice President Plan and Budget Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

Excellencies, Members of the Governing Council,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the Fifth Session of the Governing Council of the Asia and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management - or APDIM.

Today, we come together around a common concern to reduce the risk of disasters in our region. Participation of 9 ESCAP member States in this Council’s Session as observers in addition to APDIM Governing Council members, is a testimony of the region’s commitment to build resilience of countries and communities against disasters and of the support to APDIM in achieving its objectives.

Our Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2019: The Disaster Riskscape Across Asia-Pacific, pathways for resilience, inclusion and empowerment highlighted that region faces ever growing socio-economic disaster risks and losses. Some key hotspots and larger risk of slow-onset disasters as well as climate and weather-related disasters contribute to the widening scale of inequality in the region.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

As we embark on our deliberations, allow me to thank at the outset the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for successfully chairing APDIM Governing Council since its Fourth Session in Islamabad on 20 February 2020.

Furthermore, I would like to congratulate Lt General Akhtar Nawaz Satti, Chair of APDIM Governing Council on his recent appointment as the Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The 76th ESCAP Commission Session in May 2020 endorsed the continuation of APDIM’s mandate giving us the institutional anchor, and with it the expectation, to continue on this path in ensuring support to our member States. 

The onus is on us to meet it with tangible results. In this connection, I would like to express my warm appreciation and thanks to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting APDIM and for providing generous financial and non-financial contributions to the Centre.

As the final step towards full operationalization of the Centre, I was very pleased to sign the Administrative and Financial Arrangements of APDIM together with Mr. Seyed Reza Nobakhti Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to ESCAP Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 21 January 2021.

As a result, I am pleased to note that APDIM staff in Tehran are also moving to the permanent office premises in Sepand Building.

I am confident that Islamic Republic of Iran’s commitment to contribute the highest amount given to any ESCAP Regional Institutions will ensure APDIM can truly make a difference in information management and risk reduction in the region - we count on your continued support!  

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

It is highly encouraging to see the achievements APDIM has made since its establishment and particularly from the Fourth Session of the Governing Council in Islamabad on 20 February 2020.

In regard to substantive progress and service delivery, although the COVID-19 crisis has adversely impacted the functions and services of many organizations at all levels, as we are reporting to this Council, APDIM has been able to advance and ably implement most of its planned programmes and activities.

A detailed report of APDIM’s programmes and activities since the Fourth session of this Council last year is provided as background document to the distinguished Council members. 

I wish to highlight, amongst others, the importance of APDIM Multi-year Strategic Programme of Work which is submitted for endorsement by this Council. This Strategic Programme of Work will enable APDIM to develop and expand its programme and activities in a more effective and impact-oriented manner.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges and crises which the world has faced in recent history, I am sure all of you have been involved in responding to this crisis in one way or another.

Our region, even without the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world.

Disaster risk reduction and resilience is therefore not a question of choice, but a collective imperative for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 to 2030. Many SDG targets will not be accomplished in our region unless we address disaster impacts and reduce vulnerabilities.

Therefore, I would like to stress the importance of reducing and preparing for all risks and hazards, including floods, draught, sand and dust storms, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami and other emerging hazards which constantly impose heavy human and material losses on countries and communities of our region.

APDIM is a very well-suited platform for regional cooperation and developing capacities to improve information and knowledge management for disaster risk reduction and resilience building in the region.

I thank you for your continued engagement and support to APDIM and for providing your strategic guidance and experience to achieve disaster risk reduction and building resilience in Asia and the Pacific.

I wish you all a very successful Session of APDIM Governing Council.

Thank you for your attention.

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Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management