APEC OKs disaster risk reduction framework

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ILOILO CITY: Member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have approved the Disaster Risk Reduction Framework on APEC Strategy to Building Adaptive and Disaster-Resilient Economies on September 23, during the two-day 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials’ Forum.

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Defense Undersecretary Alexander Pama, who is also Office of Civil Defense administrator, said the Iloilo framework will be endorsed to APEC leaders, who will formulate a common approach and action plan to address natural disasters.

The completion of the action plan is expected by the end of September and the next draft would be completed in Peru next year during the 10th disaster management forum.

Pama said the Asia Pacific leaders have consistently recognized the high vulnerability and exposure of the region to disasters because of its geographic situation as most APEC economies are situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire where strong earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions are a constant threat.

The region has the most active tropical cyclone formation in the world in terms of frequency, including Category 5 cyclones or super typhoons and this condition is further exacerbated by climate change.

Pama stressed that the Asia Pacific region is facing a ‘new normal’ in terms of frequency of weather disturbance, which disrupts the free flow of trade and investments across economies.

“It [new normal]presents tremendous challenges and serious threats to the inclusiveness and sustainability of growth and development of the region,” he said.

The Iloilo Disaster Risk Reduction framework recognizes the paradigm shift and impacts of disasters that require holistic, more proactive multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral and strategic interventions to make APEC economies more resilient.

The same framework cuts across all areas of the APEC agenda including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, trade and investments, energy, micro small and medium enterprises, infrastructure development, critical infrastructure resiliency, financial resiliency, human capital, health, gender, food security, science and technology, and ecological integrity.

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