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.
While the mortality risk associated with major weather-related hazards is now declining globally, the economic loss risk associated with floods and tropical cyclones is increasing in all regions. 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.
Venue: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York Date:March 6th, 2013 9:30-18:00 Organizers: Secretary-General, Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), High Level Expert Panel on Water and Disasters (HLEP/UNSGAB) Chair: H.E. Mr. BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General Co-chair: H.E. Dr. Han Seung-soo, Founding Chair of HLEP/UNSGAB Around 500 delegates participated in the special session.
Dr. Keizrul Bin Abdullah, Chairperson of NARBO see the Crown Prince of Japan at the reception on 5 March and exchanged the views on water and introduced NARBO. Dr. Abdullah also invited to the luncheon meeting organized by Mr. BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United States on 6 March and exchanged views with water experts around the world. Dr. Abdullah highly contributed to add value of NARBO in the world.
Mr. Tadashige Kawasaki, NARBO Secretariat and Japan Water Agency served as one of the temporary secretariat of the UNSGAB (United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation) and engaged in the preparation work of the special session, especially side event and luncheon meetings. These experiences should be contributed to future NARBO activities.