Press Release
June 16, 2009

Loren challenges development norms to reduce disaster risks

GENEVA, Switzerland (June 16, 2009) - Senator Loren Legarda laid down today the many challenges facing leaders of nations in addressing climate change impacts and in reducing the risks posed on people and economies by disasters.

Speaking before the second session of the United Nations (UN) Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, Loren stressed that world leaders must never sacrifice the environment in the altar of progress and economic gains because Mother Nature has a way of getting back at those who abuse her.

"Compellingly, we need to revisit and rethink our current models for socio-economic development. For in the name of economic growth, our development paradigm has allowed disaster risks to grow, to spread and to prevail until today," said Loren.

"Urban poverty, weak governance, ecosystems decline, vulnerable rural livelihoods, turbocharged by climate change risks - have all prevailed to create enormous risks in our cities and communities."

The lawmaker pointed out that the risks will constantly challenge human capacity to cope, imperil social capital and keep the millennium development goals of countries elusive.

Loren told her fellow delegates that the Philippines is visited by about 20 typhoons while being rocked by powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions each year, resulting to loss of lives and economic devastation.

"As a country and people at risk, we need to rethink our approach to pursuing and protecting our development from the regressive impacts of disasters along the priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the recommendation of the Global Assessment Report."

Further, Loren said:

"Development cannot be for economic gains alone. Development cannot be without responsible and good governance. Development should not spawn and spread new risks for humanity, our societies and economy. Development must not put our many years of development investments to waste."

Loren emphasized that people of the world actually shape the risks in their midst, by the way they change and exploit the environment and by the way they choose to live.

Scientists are in agreement that the global climate change resulting in natural disasters can be blamed in part to increased carbon emission arising from man's economic activities and way of life.

"The present task of reducing disaster risks in the context of poverty, gender inequality and climate change, has now become synonymous to securing humanity and the future of our children," Loren added.

She said leaders of governments, drawing support from all sectors of society, must incorporate into their respective laws and policies disaster-risk mitigation and climate change adaptation.

"To us leaders and lawmakers of nations, the task at hand calls for a new brand of politics - the kind of politics that has genuine regard for human development and a forceful vision for the future of humanity; the kind of politics that ushers in proactive laws and policies and reforms our conventional way of thinking and doing."

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