H.E. U Henry Van Thio, Vice President of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Chair Person of National Disaster Management Committee at the Launch of Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction

Oct 9, 2017

It is a great privilege to greet all of you at this auspicious Launching Ceremony of Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (MAPDRR), 2017.

Before I discuss the significant characteristics of MAPDRR, 2017, I would like to remind you the alarming threats that disasters pose by reading out a list of major disasters happened in the current world.

As you all noticed well, very recently, Cyclone Komen in Bangladesh, Hurricane Irma in Florida State of United States and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Landslide in Guizhou province, China, Floods in India, Nepal, Yemen and Niger, three successive strong Earthquakes in Mexico in a month claiming more than 300 deaths, signify that lives and properties of all beings are under the high pressure of disasters.

In this new era, disasters are getting more sophisticated; for instance; generating from earthquake to fire, tsunami to nuclear disaster and hurricane to dam failure etc. Further, they bring economic, social and environmental costs with the compounding effects of climate change and skewed development. The main drivers of an increase in disaster severity also include assets, livelihoods and dense population in the risk zones, rapid urbanization and deforestation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Globally, direct economic losses attributed to disasters are rising dramatically and reached about USD 1.4 trillion over the last decade and Myanmar also experiences average annual loss of 3% of national GDP due to natural disasters. Although disaster never accounts the economy of a country, low-income countries have to pay a high price in terms of fatalities from disasters, on average, 327 people died per disaster event in low-income countries over the past two decades. The figure in fact is almost five times higher than the average death toll in high-income countries. This indicates the importance of national development in minimizing the impacts of natural calamities.

In the case of Myanmar, last three years saw the changes in disaster risk landscape in which small and medium scale disasters and climate-induced disasters such as floods and cyclones are on a rise. Moreover, Myanmar has experienced changes in rainfall patterns, sea level rises and temperature increase and all those factors are exacerbating the occurrences of disasters in Myanmar. As everyone knows, we cannot negotiate or bargain with disasters but what we can do is just to prepare for disaster by means of risk reduction and capacity building.

While our country is accelerating multiple complex transitions towards a democratic society, peace and stabity and development, disasters can knock down all the efforts that we have made by far in a few minutes. In this sense, deeply interconnected risks that the climate change and skewed development practices entail will require forward thinking, long-term investment and partnership in the  conduct of DRR. Therefore, with the guidance of National Disaster Management Committee (NDMC), Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (MAPDRR) has been prepared. MAPDRR has crafted a determining feature of DRR landscape in Myanmar and gone beyond the traditional relief and response measures towards preparedness and prevention in undergoing disaster management.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The drafting of MAPDRR begins on 27th October 2016 and there are a series of consultation with regards to identifying the regional and sectoral priorities. At today ceremony, I just would like to spotlight the distintive features of MAPDRR, 2017, which will play a key role in boosting risk-proofing investments in Myanmar. MAPDRR covers not only natural hazards but also man-made accidents through a people centred and inclusive approach focusing on managing risks rather than managing disasters.

It also addresses the emerging risk of small and recurrent disasters such as river bank erosions, strong wind, lightening strikes and localized flooding. Moreover, MAPDRR 2017 has inspired to protect the invaluable heritage in addition to lives, assets, livelihoods and environment. It fosters all of government and all of society engagement especially the active participation of private sector and academia in disaster risk reduction interventions. This new actionable plan will ensure the achievement of the first target to be achieved under Sendai Framework for DRR by 2020 that calls for a substantial increase in national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction.

Having stated the essential role of MAPDRR, we will need to mobilize both domestic and international resources to achieve its successful implementation. Through the implementation of MAPDRR, we are confident that we will be able to build risk-informed development at the national level and contribute to meet the Sustainable Development Goals at the global level. As the action plan details the targets and indicators for monitoring the progess of implementing the priority projects, I would like to urge all the lead Ministries and Departments to oversee its implementation on the ground and to make sure its effectiveness for the local people and our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
So by taking this opportunity, I would like to thank everyone who has made this action plan happen through their deep commitments, valuable participation and technical inputs. On top of that, I also would like to proudly say that Myanmar is one of the leading contries around the world that develops such kind of disaster risk reduction plan in lign with the new global commitments and agendas. So, we should congratulate the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement together with all the respective Ministries and UNDP for making this great endeavour.

To conclude, MAPDRR, 2017 is envisaged to maximize the disaster readiness of the country on which resilience of our nation from disasters will build up. In this case, I would like to call on all stakeholders to join our efforts and let’s work together towards resilient Myanmar.

Thank you.


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