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Economic losses from natural disasters amount to $3.5trn – World Bank

The World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, yesterday, disclosed that economic losses caused by natural hazards have more than tripled over the last three decades and amounted to $3.5 trillion.
The multi-lateral institution’s head stated this at a discussion forum on natural disaster, entitled:
“The Sendai dialogue”, which was hosted by Japan and the World Bank Group at the on-going 2012 World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund, IMF, annual meetings that featured government officials, multi-lateral institutions and civil society with the goal of sharing knowledge that will advance the integration of risk management into development planning.

Recently Nigeria has witnessed unprecedented flooding that has caused damage to property, farmlands and farms with the fear that it could lead to famine next year.

The World Bank and Japan, together with global policy makers, at the forum called for greater efforts to integrate disaster risk management into national development plan and international development assistance.

A joint statement issued by Japan and the World Bank urged governments and development partners to accelerate efforts to pro-actively manage growing disaster risks by incorporating disaster risk management in development policy and investment programmes.

The statement by World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim said: “We need a culture of prevention, no country can fully insulate itself from disaster risk, but every country can reduce its vulnerability. Better planning can help reduce damage and loss of life from disasters and prevention can be far less costly than disaster relief and response.”

Risk management
“I hope that lessons derived from Japan’s long-established disaster management culture, as well as the Great East Japan earthquake and its reconstruction process, will be globally shared,” said Japanese Finance Minister Koriki Jojima.

“I expect the Sendai dialogue to help form a consensus on the need to mainstream disaster risk management in all aspects of development processes,” he stressed.
The Sendai dialogue was informed by the Sendai Report: “Managing Disaster Risks for a resilent future”, which is an official development committee paper for the 2012 annual meetings, and by a series of 32 knowledge notes produced by the World Bank in cooperation with Japan.

Dialogue participants, who included World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Koriki Jojima, Japan’s Minister of Finance, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Laarde, Kristinalia Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, and President Haruhiko Kuroda of the Asian Development Bank, reaffirmed their commitment to providing technical and financial support for building resilience to disasters in vulnerable countries.

Disaster risk management is increasingly central to World Bank business. Over the last 10 years, the bank financed nearly $18 billion in activities focusing on natural disasters, which has helped to protect the lives and livelihoods of people in 92 countries.

More than two-thirds of the World Bank’s country partnership strategies have already started to incorporate disaster risk management, and the goal is to bring that figure to 100 percent.
The conference took place in Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku Region along the Pacific coast of Japan, which bore the brunt of the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

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