ILOILO CITY: Economic leaders discussed a framework on disaster risk reduction at the 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) .
The framework, which is expected to promote APEC-wide collaboration is aimed at providing member-countries to be more responsive to serious threats and challenges posed by stronger and more frequent disasters.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who also chairs the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said economies should adjust to the ‘new normal’ in terms of responding to disasters brought about by warmer temperatures and stronger storms.
Gazmin underscored that disasters brought about by natural and human-induced elements, are becoming more unpredictable and with increased frequency, magnitude and scope.
“The prevalence of disasters in the new normal manifestation has serious implications to inter-economic relations as it cuts across several APEC concerns and priorities. This phenomenon causes major disruptions to trade relations, business and investments across the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
Natural and man-made disasters lead to serious losses and damage to infrastructure.
The World Bank estimates show that APEC economies have incurred disaster-related losses of over $100 billon every year for the last 10 years.
“Most importantly, disasters have caused tragic losses of precious lives in APEC communities,” Gazmin reported.
In response to the prevalence of disasters, the APEC has considered disaster risk reduction as one of its priorities. Presently, the APEC economies have stepped up by introducing innovations, developing policies, and organizing working bodies such as emergency preparedness working group to address the effects of disasters.