Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters


Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters

Venue: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York
Date: March 6th, 2013


Concept Note

Water is life. But water is also a threat to life. During the past decade, water-related disasters have not only struck more frequently but have also been more severe, hampering sustainable development by causing political, social, and economic shocks in many countries. Disaster risk levels are driven by factors such as climate variability, poverty, poor land-use planning and management, as well as ecosystem degradation, and are increasing as more people and assets locate in areas of high risk. For example, over the past 30 years, the proportion of people living in flood-prone river basins increased by 114 percent and on cyclone-exposed coastlines by 192 percent. 1
While the mortality risk associated with major weather-related hazards is now declining globally2 , the economic loss risk associated with floods and tropical cyclones is increasing in all regions 3. While disasters affect all, the poor suffer the most. Low income countries, including the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), have less capacity to absorb and recover from economic losses caused by disasters due to their social and economic situations.
Global changes including climate change, increased population pressure, declining ecosystems, and unplanned urbanization are drastically increasing the risks of water-related disasters. Green growth will not materialize without adequately addressing water-related disasters. As highlighted during the current discourse in the Rio+20 process, integrated approaches to water resource management are critical for building the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
Having these in mind, the Special Session on Water and Disasters, an initiative of Secretary-General, will be held at the United Nations to raise awareness, share experiences and good practices, and discuss ways forward towards global actions on water and disasters.

*1: Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, 2011
*2: In most of the world, the risk of being killed by a tropical cyclone or a major river flood is lower today than it was in the 1990, Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, 2011
*3: Since 1980, economic loss risk related to tropical cyclones has increased by 262 percent in high-income countries, and by 155 percent in low-income countries

Draft Agenda

Venue: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York
Date: March 6th, 2013
Organizers: UN Secretary-General, The United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), High Level Expert Panel on Water and Disasters (HLEP/UNSGAB)
Invitees: Experts on water and disasters, experts and interested members of UN missions and international organizations, HLEP/UNSGAB members and partners, members of civil society and private sectors, and others

Part I: Opening Session with Special Lecture on Water and Disasters (9:30-10:45)

Chair: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (Co-chair: Dr. Han Seung-soo, Founding Chair of HLEP/UNSGAB)

  • Opening      Address by Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
  • Congratulatory      Address by Mr. Vuk Jeremić, the President of the United Nations General      Assembly
  • Keynote      Address by HIH Crown Prince of Japan, Honorary President of UNSGAB
  • Keynote      Address by HRH Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange, the Netherlands,      Chair of UNSGAB
  • Closing      Address by Dr. Han Seung-soo, Founding Chair of HLEP/UNSGAB

Break (10:45-11:00)

Part II: High Level Session on Water and Disasters (11:00-18:00)

Chair: Dr. Han Seung-soo, Founding Chair of HLEP/UNSGAB

Morning Session (11:00 -13:00) Deliberations by high-level experts

  • H.E.      Mr. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
  • H.E.      Dr Mohamed Bahaa El-Din, President of African Ministers’ Council on Water      (AMCOW), Minister of Water and Irrigation, Egypt
  • H.E.      Ms. Melanie Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus, Minister of      Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands
  • H.E.      Mr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of Presidential Work Unit, Indonesia
  • Dr.      Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank (tbc)
  • Prof.      Dr. Peter Hoeppe Head of Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre,      Munich Re
  • Ms.      Honoka Miura High school student, Motoyoshi Hibiki High School, living in      Minami-Sanriku Town, a town affected by Great East Japan Earthquake

Lunch Break (13:00-15:00)

Panel Discussion 1 (15:00-16:30) “Experience and Lessons of Water and Disasters”

High Panellists: * represents Session Co-Chairs

Session Co-Chair: Mr. Michel, Jarraud*, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization (Chair, UN-Water)
Session Co-Chair: Ms. Irina Bokova*, Director General, UNESCO
Mr. Shigeru Kikukawa, Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Japan
Mr. Thomas P. Bostick, Chief of US Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.A
Mr. Bai-mass Taal, Executive Secretary, AMCOW
Mr. Bindu N. Lohani, Vice President of Asian Development Bank (tbc)
Ms. Florika Fink-Hooijer Director, Strategy, Policy and International Co‐operation, DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, European Commission

Panel Discussion 2 (16:30-18:00) “Regional and Global Cooperation to Address Mega-Water-Disasters”

High Panellists: * represents Session Chairs

Session Chair: Ms. Margareta Wahlström*, Special Representative of Secretary-General, UN-ISDR
Ms Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Service International
Dr. Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, Chair, Global Water Partnership
Dr. Benedito Braga, President, the World Water Council
Representative (tbd), UN Global Compact
Dr. Hans Guttman, CEO of Mekong River Commission
Ms. Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant Director General, UNESCO

Closing Session (18:00-18:15)

  • Closing      Remarks by Mr. Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General
  • Wrap-up      by Dr. Han Seung-soo, Co-Chair

Expected outcomes

The Summary of Discussion of the day will be compiled. The Summary will contribute to not only future discussion of ECOSOC, Post Rio+20, Post-Hyogo and Post MDGs but also help establishing global and regional dialogue and cooperation process/mechanism to improve disaster prevention and preparedness by countries.

For further information, please contact:
Seiji Ito, Secretariat of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation
Tel: +1 212 963 8590, Fax: +1 212-963-4340

Accessed via; http://www.unsgab.org/news/130306.htm


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