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Emerging economies face acute disaster risks: U.N.
Sat May 16, 2009 8:06pm EDT
GENEVA (Reuters) - Natural disasters threaten to trigger widespread damage and distress in emerging economies, many of which are already on the brink because of the global recession, a United Nations body said on Sunday.
There are 1 billion people living in hazard-prone slums and shantytowns in developing countries, many of which overlooked safety standards in recent years of red-hot growth, according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
Crammed settlements with poor drainage systems are making floods more frequent and severe in many cities, particularly in Asia, where the ISDR said big swathes of commercial assets and infrastructure are also exposed to storms and earthquakes.
"Disaster risk is rising in an alarming way, threatening development gains, economic stability and global security," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, introducing the 200-page report launched in Bahrain.
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Bilderberg meetings remain a mystery
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Ever hear of Bilderberg? If not, that’s the idea.
According to various Web sites, the Bilderberg is an “unofficial, annual, invitation-only conference of around 130 guests, most of whom are persons of influence in the fields of politics, business and banking.”
The names of alleged past participants of this secretive group include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and even former President Bill Clinton.
The Bilderberg group is currently holding its 57th annual conference at a hotel outside Athens, Greece. And while the list of the some 120 influential people is highly protected, Internet bloggers contend this year’s attendees include Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who supposedly will be “taking orders from the Global Elite,” according to one Web site.
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International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Mission and objectives
The ISDR aims at building disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as an integral component of sustainable development, with the goal of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses due to natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters.
Recognising that natural hazards can threaten any one of us, the ISDR builds on partnerships and takes a global approach to disaster reduction, seeking to involve every individual and every community towards the goals of reducing the loss of lives, the socio-economic setbacks and the environmental damages caused by natural hazards. In order to achieve these goals, the ISDR promotes four objectives as tools towards reaching disaster reduction for all:
Increase public awareness to understand risk, vulnerability and disaster reduction globally
The more people, regional organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, United Nations entities, representatives of civil society and others know about risk, vulnerability and how to manage the impacts of natural hazards, the more disaster reduction measures will be implemented in all sectors of society. Prevention begins with information.
Obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster reduction policies and actions
The more decision-makers at all levels commit themselves to disaster reduction policies and actions, the sooner communities vulnerable to natural disasters will benefit from applied disaster reduction policies and actions. This requires, in part, a grassroots approach whereby communities at risk are fully informed and participate in risk management initiatives.
Stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectoral partnerships, including the expansion of risk reduction networks
The more entities active in disaster reduction share information on their research and practices, the more useful the global body of knowledge and experience will progress. By sharing a common purpose and through collaborative efforts we can ensure a world that is more resilient to the impact of natural hazards.
Improve scientific knowledge about disaster reduction
The more we know about the causes and consequences of natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters on societies, the more we are able to be better prepared to reduce risks. Bringing the scientific community and policy makers together allows them to contribute to and complement each other's work.
The ISDR combines the strengths of many key players through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) and the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the ISDR (UN/ISDR).
The IATF/DR is the principal body for the development of disaster reduction policy. It is headed by the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and consists of 25 UN, international, regional and civil society organizations. It meets twice a year in Geneva, Switzerland. Working Groups reporting to the IATF/DR bring together specialists and organisations to discuss issues of common and global relevance to disaster reduction such as climate variability, early warning, vulnerability and risk analysis, wildland fires and drought.
The UN/ISDR is the focal point in the UN System to promote links and synergies between, and the coordination of, disaster reduction activities in the socio-economic, humanitarian and development fields, as well as to support policy integration. It serves as an international information clearinghouse on disaster reduction, developing awareness campaigns and producing articles, journals, and other publications and promotional materials related to disaster reduction. The UN/ISDR headquarters is based at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It conducts outreach programmes through its regional units in Costa Rica and Kenya.