22.01.2005 - Press release
Kobe Conference on Disaster Reduction: Switzerland has played a major role
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction closed on Saturday in Kobe, Japan. Two important documents were adopted at the meeting which was attended by over 4000 delegates and experts. Switzerland played a major role in the preparation of the conference and the elaboration of the texts.
After five days of discussions, representatives of 168 countries and around 30 international and non governmental organisations agreed to adhere to the recommendations of the final document entitled “Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005 – 2015”. This text will serve as the reference for measures to be taken over the next ten years to reduce risks and the vulnerability of populations exposed to natural disasters. The document is completed by a "Final Declaration" which emphases the links that exist between, on the one hand, risk prevention, and, on the other hand, sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The consensus obtained on the two texts is a success for Switzerland's diplomacy which has been involved since last year in the preparatory phase in Geneva. Meetings of the committee responsible for writing the Kobe documents were headed by Marco Ferrari, Deputy Head of SDC's Humanitarian Aid. These long political negotiations, involving representatives of 56 countries, led to the wide international agreement.
The “Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005 – 2015” prioritises steps to be taken to reduce by 2015 the impact of natural disasters on populations at risk. These actions will require the commitment of governments as well as international organisations and the civil society at all levels: local, national, regional and international. As Marco Ferrari commented upon presentation of the document during the plenary closing session: "Certainly not all requests have been satisfied, but we have been able to identify precise and concrete measures to considerably improve the prevention of natural disasters”.
This ten year programme is the beginning of a process stemming from the Yokohama Strategy adopted in 1994. It defines fields of action in much greater detail, and targets areas which had so far not been taken into account. The green light is now clearly given for a commitment to setting concrete, specific and quantifiable goals
For further information:
Saturday: Meinrad Studer in Japan, 0081 80 10 08 98.
As of Sunday: Jean-Philippe Jutzi, 079 292 08 49