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Disaster summit agrees on urgent action

A conference on global disasters has ended with a call for urgent action to improve safety measures around the planet.

The third Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction conference in Geneva brought together 3,000 experts and government officials from 180 countries to discuss how to cope better both before and after natural disasters.

“The participants have agreed to recognise the urgency of the situation. The international community should act quickly and concretely to make the world a safer place”, said the United Nations special representative for disaster risk reduction, Margareta Wahlström.  

Governments agreed to develop a framework to set out more clearly the responsibilities and distribution of resources, to strengthen transparency and monitoring and improve systems of financing reconstruction after a disaster.

The conference was held only a few weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and while it was in session there was flooding in the United States, an earthquake in Spain and drought in eastern Africa.

According to the World Bank, the economic costs of natural disasters soared from $68 billion (SFr59.5 billion) in 2009 to $180 billion in 2010.

The World Meteorological Organization presented a plan at the conference involving $75 million a year to improve weather and climate forecasting systems in developing nations.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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