Press Release
November 4, 2012

Legarda Hails 2012 Yogyakarta Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction
in Asia and the Pacific

Senator Loren Legarda today hailed the 2012 Yogyakarta Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia and the Pacific as another concrete step towards mainstreaming disaster resiliency efforts in the region.

Legarda, the United Nations (UN) Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, noted that the Declaration is a product of the Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 22 to 25 October 2012.

"The Yogyakarta Declaration calls on all DRR stakeholders to fully participate in consultations worldwide. It calls for the integration of local level DRR and CCA into national development planning, support for local communities in obtaining sufficient financing, improved local risk governance and partnership, and replicating DRR and CCA best practices, among others," she explained.

The 2012 Yogyakarta Declaration also calls for ways by which DRR and CCA efforts can be enhanced through accountability measures, greater political commitment and improved governance. It further identifies steps to reduce underlying risk factors and to implement cross-cutting issues in the Hyogo Framework of Action.

Legarda highlighted the importance of the Declaration especially with the recent study by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction entitled "Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters", which showed that between 1970 and 2011, 75% of all deaths worldwide that were caused by disasters occurred in Asia Pacific, and that the average number of people exposed to yearly flooding in the region has increased by more than 50% from 29.5 million to 63.8 million in the last forty years, from 1970 to 2010.

"The 2012 Yogyakarta Declaration will help our aim to increase the understanding of disaster and climate science, impacts, and policy responses, encourage disaster and climate-proofing of development plans and possibly enable us to learn from successful experiences of other countries," Legarda said.

She added that the Philippines already has the National Climate Change Action Plan and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan which serve as blueprints in mainstreaming climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the government's plans and programs, from the national down to the local level.

Furthermore, the Philippines also has the People's Survival Fund Law, which Legarda sponsored, that mandates the appropriation of one billion pesos annually for the financing of climate change adaptation projects of local governments and organizations.

Legarda, in her capacity as both Senator and UN Champion, has spearheaded DRR collaboration workshops for local government units covering the Greater Metro Manila Area, the Pampanga, Bicol, Cagayan de Oro, and Agusan river basins, and in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

"It is evident that reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change have become the greatest humanitarian and development challenges of our time. With overwhelming international attention, we will be able to rise as one human community towards a safer, more resilient society," Legarda concluded.

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