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Remark by H.E Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam on Strengthening Emergency Preparedness and Response

Mr. Co-Chairs,

1. I fully concur with the Co-Chairs’ opinion. We have seen devastating natural disasters with increasing frequency and severity and with greater impacts on our economic recovery and on our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Asia - Pacific region continues to be highly exposed to natural disasters more than any other region. In 2011 alone, APEC member economies suffered 91% of the total economic damages worldwide caused by natural disasters.

And this year, the region continues to be hit even harder with severe damages, particularly in the Philippines, the Russian Federation, China, the United States, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, etc.

Let me convey the most profound sympathy to the people and Governments of these APEC member economies. And our admiration goes to their impressive efforts to respond to such hazards.

Mr. Co-chairs,

2. We are encouraged by the progress we have made so far in promoting emergency preparedness and response. Our concerted effort in this area has become a cornerstone of APEC cooperation to ensure human security and safe growth. Notably, the “Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Asia Pacific Region from 2009 to 2015” is well underway.

The 2012 APEC Action Plan has also been in place to improve business and community resilience, to support businesses in disasters and preparations for the recovery phase.

As the Co-Chair of the APEC Emergency Preparedness Working Group in 2012-2013, Viet Nam has been working closely with other member economies to put forward these set activities and initiatives.

3. In ways forward, we need to promote an interdisciplinary approach to strengthening our emergency preparedness and response. Because this is critical to ensuring economic recovery and implementation of APEC Growth Strategy. And with that, we can reaffirm our broader commitments to facilitating regional economic interconnectedness and establishing reliable supply chains.

So, cooperation in emergency preparedness and response must be incorporated into our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. This also needs to be in tandem with efforts to ensure food security, maritime safety and security.

To this end, we welcome Indonesia’s initiative for travel facilitation for disaster personnel and equipment in times of disasters in the Asia - Pacific region. And I wish to take this opportunity to propose APEC workshop on search and rescue at sea next year.  

With our abundant resources and expertise, we need to work together to put in place the Network of Crisis Management Centers in APEC economies. By doing so, we can better coordinate with other regional and international endeavors, and especially with the United Nations to implement the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

Thank you.

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