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Thematic debate of the 65th session of the General Assembly on disaster risk reduction: President's summary
UN and UNISDR, 2011

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This document gives a detailed summary of the Thematic Debate's panel discussions, and highlights calls made by the panelists and participants to bear in mind three core notions: (i) awareness gained from experience and the lessons learned from the past; (ii) prioritization through respect for the five urban "commandments" necessary for resilient cities; and (iii) prevention. The President of the General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, convened the informal Thematic Debate on Disaster Risk Reduction in New York on 9 February 2011. Organized as a follow-up to the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2010 which acknowledged that disaster risk reduction and increasing resilience to all types of natural hazards can ?have multiplier effects and accelerate achievement of the MDGs", it aimed to strengthen the understanding on how effective investment policies and practices, as well as sustainable urban management, can reduce risk and exposure to disasters. The Thematic Debate consisted of two panel discussions (moderated by Ms. Zeinab Badawi, International broadcaster and journalist and presenter of BBC World News and BBC Hardtalk) with senior representatives from national Government, local administration, private sector and civil society: (i) "Invest today for a safer tomorrow" and (ii) "Cities at risk - Addressing the challenges of disaster risk in urban settings". These discussions were complemented by two side events: (i) "Taking Collective Action in DRR for Good Governance - Investing in Our Children?s Future? organized by the World Vision, Save the Children and UNDP; and (ii) ?Innovations in Disaster Risk Reduction? organized by the World Bank. The outcomes of the Thematic Debate will contribute to the upcoming Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will convene from 8-13 May 2011 in Geneva, as well as to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.

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