UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on the world to step up their investments by 2020 and ensure that disaster risk reduction is at the heart of the ‘Decade of Action’.
“We all must now focus on increased ambitions. Let us all push for greater ambition on climate action, disaster risk reduction and all our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said in a message marking the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.Throughout his life, the UN chief said, he has visited many communities affected by extreme weather events and other natural hazards.
From the South Pacific to Mozambique to the Caribbean and beyond, the UN chief said, he has seen the devastating and life-changing impact of the climate emergency on vulnerable communities.
“Disasters inflict horrendous suffering and can wipe out decades of development gains in an instant,” Guterres said.
In the coming decade, he said, the world will invest trillions of dollars in new housing, schools, hospitals and infrastructure. “Climate resilience and disaster risk reduction must be central to this investment.”
The UN Secretary General said there is a strong economic case for such steps: making infrastructure more climate-resilient can have a benefit-cost ratio of about six to one.
“For every dollar invested, six dollars can be saved,” he said adding that this means that investing in climate resilience creates jobs and saves money.And it is the right thing to do: it can ease and prevent human misery, Guterres said adding that “I am encouraged by the global groundswell of public support for urgent climate action, and by the many commitments made at the recent Climate Action Summit.”