Early Warning Can Save Lives! Leaders Learn How

    Bonn (ots) - Early warning conference results in concrete commitments by decision makers to integrate early warning in disaster reduction strategies and policies

    Participants of the Second International Conference on Early Warning (EWC-II) defined clear targets and accepted their respective responsibilities to reduce the negative impacts of hazards in a statement presented today at the conclusion of the Conference in Bonn. The conference represents a milestone in the development of an unprecedented international early warning programme, that will enable the early warning dialogue to continue and further develop capacities at all levels.

    "Considering the increasing number of human and economic losses resulting from disasters, it is vital that the world's leaders take action towards better preparing and protecting communities from imminent hazards," said Sálvano Briceño, Director of the Inter- Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. "This means minimizing risk by taking active steps to mitigate and, where possible, prevent disasters from happening in the first place."

    Early warning is a critical and practical measure that communities can implement to reduce risk. Early warning systems have proven to significantly reduce the negative impacts of hazards if they draw upon the numerous actors that make up the early warning chain, in particular local and national authorities, as well as the participation of communities themselves.

    Hans-Joachim Daerr of the German Federal Foreign Office emphasized the importance of the meeting in bringing together scientists, disaster reduction practitioners and politicians to learn from each other's experiences. "Over the past three days, decision makers have made it clear that they are willing to accept their duty to do all that is possible to alert people in a timely and understandable fashion. It is now time that they put their words into action."

    "The Government of Germany is committed to support the proposed programme on early warning under the umbrella of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and we welcome the collaboration of other governments to contribute to its development," said Mr. Daerr.

    Guidelines for decision makers on how to integrate early warning for natural hazards and risks into relevant policies were revised by eight ministers and mayors from all corners of the world present at the conference. The document comprises a series of elements that need to be taken into account for an effective early warning system, based on real-life examples and good practices, to be disseminated to local and national leaders worldwide.

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ots Original Text Service: DKKV Deutsches Komitee für Katastrophenvorsorge e.V. Internet:

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