Remarks by H.E.Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Foreign minister of Viet Nam, at the high-level policy dialogue on disaster resiliency
1. I fully agree with many colleagues here that now it is high time for APEC to act more vigorously to tackle with disasters.
I wish to take this opportunity to express the deepest sympathy to and admiration of the ways that the peoples and Governments of many APEC members have taken to respond to disasters, most notably the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the very recent floods in Thailand.
2. Today, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on this issue.
First, there is no denying the fact that natural disasters have now become an urgent issue that requires resolute and timely actions. Our Asia-Pacific region is facing numerous disasters with unseen frequency and intensity, severe damages and losses, particularly to the most vulnerable segments of our population that is our women and children.
The threat of natural disasters has been exacerbated by climate change, man-made ecological degradation as well as the intertwined impacts of other non-traditional security challenges.
The lessons learned from member economies show that, though we are yet to be fully capable of controlling the unpredictable twists and turns of nature, should we be well prepared and have vision as well as joint action, we can mitigate the damage to property and losses of life associated with irregular disasters.
Second, APEC has made a right decision in prioritizing human security and emergency preparedness in cooperation projects.
Viet Nam supports “ APEC Strategy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response in the Asia-Pacific for 2009 - 2015” and projects advocated by “the APEC Taskforce on Emergency Response”. All these endeavours are meaningful to raising public awareness, enhancing member economies' capacity and encouraging greater participation of the business community in preparedness and resiliency efforts.
Together with the joint efforts, Viet Nam is actively implementing the “National Strategy for Disaster Prevention and Mitigation until 2020” with priority given to developing infrastructure and disaster prevention systems, enhancing public awareness and incorporating disaster prevention and mitigation issues into our educational materials. Therefore, the losses of life resulted from natural disasters in Viet Nam have significantly reduced. A “Memorandum of Understanding on the Enhanced Public-Private Partnership on Disaster Risk Prevention and Reduction” was just signed last month between the Government of Viet Nam and Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
We will continue to attach importance to APEC cooperation in this area. At a workshop held in Da Nang last July, APEC member economies shared a number of valuable experiences and best practices, and proposed measures to address abnormal flooding.
Third, for better response to disasters, APEC should further promote projects on community awareness enhancement, particularly for the youth and children. We also need to strengthen cooperation in search and rescue at sea, and support member economies in emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, including the dispatch of search and rescue teams. Furthermore, there is a need to launch humanitarian and charity campaigns and to encourage the engagement of business community in these endeavours.
APEC should also work to increase its tangible and effective contributions to regional and international efforts in such areas as early warning, disaster resilience and reconstruction, and implementation of the newly adopted UN Children’s Charter on Disaster Risk Reduction. We should also fortify our coordination with the existing regional mechanisms, including the Asian Disaster Response Centre, the Asia-Pacific Disaster Management Centre, the Asia Disaster Mitigation Centre, and the ASEAN Disaster Management Committee.
Thank you for your attention.
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