Apec member nations urged to collaborate on disaster preparedness
ILOILO CITY—Philippine officials on Tuesday called for stronger cooperation and high-level policy dialogue in the Asia-Pacific to address disaster management concerns and issues.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Forum at the Iloilo Convention Center, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said there is a need for “more holistic, proactive, multi-stakeholder and longer term interventions…to make our economies resilient against disasters.”
Gazmin, also chair of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, stressed that disasters, which have become more unpredictable and more frequent in scope and magnitude, are the “new normal” reality that economies have to contend with.
He said these disasters have caused major disruptions to trade relations, businesses and investments across the Asia-Pacific region.
Apec is a multilateral international organization which seeks to foster free trade and economic prosperity among its member-economies in the Asia-Pacific region, its website says. It is composed of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States of America, and Vietnam.
In a message read by Climate Change Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman, Sen. Loren Legarda cited the “great challenge” to incorporate disaster risk reduction in the development agenda.
“The general framework on policy for (disaster risk reduction) should emanate from the highest leadership in order for our economies to tread on similar path towards resilience,” Legarda said.
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