A major initiative to develop a UN strategic plan of action for disaster risk reduction and resilience got underway on 19 November 2012 at UNESCO HQ as representatives from 20 UN agencies and programmes convened for a two-day UN High Level Retreat.
The goal is to produce a plan of action in four months and identify key milestones for the finalization, ownership and implementation. In her opening remarks, UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, said the meeting was an opportunity for creative thinking on how to strengthen the coherence of the UN system and to focus on strengthening resilience and disaster risk reduction as the first line of defense against climate change.
The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, drew attention to the role played by economic growth and development in contributing to future risk. "Development with all its positive elements is still the main driver of risk. This is an area where the UN has a huge opportunity to make a contribution to sustainable development."