General Assembly

Csaba Kőrösi (General Assembly President) on Disaster…

Csaba Kőrösi (General Assembly President) on Disaster Risk Reduction - General Assembly, 71st plenary meeting, 77th session
Production Date
Video Length
Speaker Name
Speaker Affiliation
Opening remarks by Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the General Assembly, at the High-level meeting on the Midterm Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Madam Deputy Secretary-General,

Madam Special Representative,

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to this High-Level Meeting.

Let me extend special thanks to the two Representatives, who have joined us here.

One of them, Mr. Mustafa Kemal Kilinç, came from the earthquake zone in Türkiye to be with us today.

I am sure we have much to learn from your first-hand insights on how to identify risk, assess the gaps and bolster resilience in the future.

As the earthquake across Türkiye and Syria, and the recent Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar and Bangladesh made clear, disasters know no borders.

They are also connected – to each other and to us, through our actions and inactions.

To better manage disaster risks, we must understand why and how disasters are connected – and address our role in perpetuating them.

This has become an inevitable priority for all countries, regardless of geography.

But then, to quote Robert Louis Stevenson, "The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect."

The Sendai Framework was the first of the landmark international agreements adopted in 2015.

In many ways, it was a framework ahead of its time.

Member States called for a critical shift towards the proactive management of risks before the onset of disaster.

World leaders pledged to pursue risk-informed decision making, build resilience, tackle the impacts of climate change and create pathways for sustainable development.

Eight years on, we must admit that our progress has not kept pace with the urgency of our days.

The known number of people affected by disasters has jumped 80-fold since 2015.

The shocks ignited by unattended risk – and amplified by COVID, conflict, and climate change – have torn through our systems across the world.

They have left millions homeless and starving.

They upended supply chains.

They laid bare the gross inequities of an international financial order that has often prized profits over people.

How did we get here?

We must acknowledge that our decisions – on how we consume, produce, fuel, finance and plan – are still out of sync with the reality that nature's resources are finite.

We have to rethink and recalibrate our systems, our structures.

We should acknowledge our enormous responsibility for human-induced climate change.

And we have to stop undervaluing the environmental and other costs of our actions.

As accountants like to say: "It is not a calculated risk if you have not calculated it."

This midterm review is our last chance before 2030 to collectively change course.

Starting today, let us ensure our choices are planet-smart and people-centred.

Let us measure prosperity with a tool that widens the lens of GDP – one that captures the true cost of human, social, natural and built capital, the total assets of a nation.

By moving Beyond GDP, we can shift away from extractive and transactional behaviours, moving towards modes of inclusion and solidarity.

In these efforts, let us ensure that risk governance and management evolve in ways that are proportionate to the challenges at hand.

The more we improve scientific capabilities and manage residual risks, the better our societies will withstand the shocks.

I challenge you to account for risk in every decision that impacts how we live, consume, build and invest.

To shift the temporal frame – from short-term decision making to the one that also includes long-term perspectives,

To make the sustainable transformations in global and local risk governance,

To value resilience in the global financial system by redressing how disaster risk is treated,

To increase and incentivize investment in prevention and rapid response; and, above all,

To place people at the centre of prevention efforts.

By engaging those most affected by disasters, we can reverse the trends towards inequality, restricted civic space and rising vulnerability.

In short: anticipate risks, calculate, factor in, prepare, prevent, respond rapidly and build the lessons learned into the next action plans.

These issues are at the core of the political declaration that will be adopted today.

And they are embodied in the UN Charter we have pledged to uphold.

I urge you to renew the drive for a multilateral system ready for the new risk landscape.

The transformation towards resilience is ours to craft.

I thank you.