As we know recurrent crises affect countries around the world, and last year alone killed more than 20,000 people. Today we are focusing on
According to the
In fact, the number of weather-related disasters has tripled during that same period of time, as has the costs of dealing with them - to
The year 2013 was the year with the most disasters, but we know that with increasing population growth, and the increasing impacts of climate change, more and more people will be put in harm's way - in the region's rapidly growing cities, and especially in low-lying coastal areas.
We also know that unsustainable patterns of natural resource use can exacerbate these problems, from clearing mangroves that protect communities against storm surges, to felling forests that reduce erosion and protect vital water sources.
Of course we know we can't prevent typhoons or earthquakes, but we can work smarter to minimize impacts on families and communities, and to prevent serious setbacks on hard-won development gains. And we know that to reach our goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2025, we have to ensure that even the world's most vulnerable people are better prepared to stay on track to development.
The trend with crises worldwide is clear, and deeply disturbing. Simply put, we need to be smarter in making our investment decisions, whether as development professionals, city planners, community leaders, or representatives of the private sector -- or indeed, as any and all stakeholders working on building economic enterprise and social growth.
And we need to do it now.
Just one final data point: by 2025, or in just about 10 years, it is estimated that more than 400 million people will likely be vulnerable to flooding in
But it really doesn't have to be that way - we can choose a different path. One in which we work to find ways, together, to better manage risk.
For example, imagine that the rapid urbanization we are all witnessing in
Imagine smart zoning, with good building codes and standards; solid hospitals, schools, roads, ports, and communications infrastructures; and better natural resources management. Imagine early warning systems in place in all areas prone to risk, to alert all segments of society of approaching threats.
We do have a choice. We can either face a future that is constantly vulnerable to disasters and seemingly unbreakable cycles of poverty... or we can manage our risks smartly and minimize losses, while also fostering a secure environment in which social and economic progress can take place. In a manner of speaking, we can repair the roof on our collective houses before it rains, rather than pay for all the damage that a leaking roof can mean later.
That's why we are here today, to encourage smarter decisions, and we want to share with you a new initiative that we believe will help, called the
Our partnership, announced by the
With an initial commitment of
You will hear us using the term "resilience" repeatedly today. Essentially, it means this: when confronted with shocks, like typhoons and earthquakes, and stressors, like climate change or changing disease patterns, people are able to take effective action to avoid major losses and preserve their abilities to rebound and get back on track. Resilience is essential if we are to win the fight against poverty, and ensure that no segments of society are left behind.
The vision for resilience is front and center in USAID's agenda. Both USAID and the RF see resilience as a vital framework to help alleviate poverty and promote more sustainable development, lessening the impacts of disasters. We can choose a better, and smarter, future.
That will take creativity, innovation, and cross-sectoral partnerships, and we are pleased to be able to support this most important effort.
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Hispanic #1 Breaking News for Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Business Owners - HispanicBusiness.com
OCTOBER 31, 2014
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