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Create more resilient societies

October 11, 2012


Intl disaster meet wraps up in Sendai




SENDAI (Jiji Press)--Policymakers and experts from around the world agreed Wednesday on the need to create societies that are more resilient to disasters as they wrapped up their two-day special meeting here on disaster reduction and prevention.

The conference, dubbed the Sendai Dialogue and cohosted by Japan and the World Bank Group, "will further strengthen the global commitment for managing disaster risks for resilient growth and development," Finance Minister Koriki Jojima and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a joint statement.

About 320 delegates from 40 countries and eight international organizations attended the meeting in Sendai.

Ahead of the meeting, which started Tuesday, participants including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde visited areas hit hard by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

In the closing session, Lagarde described Japan's postdisaster recovery as showing "incredible resilience."

The outcome of the Sendai Dialogue will be reported to an IMF-World Bank Development Committee meeting scheduled for Saturday in Tokyo.




October 10, 2012



Japan, World Bank meeting on disaster risk management opens in Sendai





SENDAI — Global leaders and disaster experts gathered Tuesday in Sendai for an international conference hosted by Japan and the World Bank on disasters and development, with reconstruction minister Tatsuo Hirano vowing to do more to create disaster-resilient communities.


At the two-day Sendai Dialogue, about 320 delegates from 40 countries, including disaster survivors, will share lessons from the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated vast areas of the northeast — especially the prefectures of Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi — and map out steps to limit the economic impact of natural disasters.

Mayor Emiko Okuyama of Sendai, the capital of Miyagi, said in her opening remarks that about a year and half after the disaster the city continues to "make rapid progress toward reconstruction and revitalization."

Still, Okuyama, delivering her address in English, said the city's "biggest challenge" lies in how to move ahead with reconstruction.

The earthquake and tsunami set off the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Quake-related damage has been estimated at about ¥16.9 trillion.

Participants in the Sendai Dialogue, which is part of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Tokyo this week, include World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Finance Minister Koriki Jojima and his counterparts from other countries, including Colombia and Thailand.

Some of the delegates are scheduled to visit sites in the disaster areas, including an elementary school that was one of the few buildings in Sendai's Arahama coastal district to remain standing after the tsunami.

In his keynote speech, reconstruction minister Hirano stressed the government's role in strengthening measures to help disaster-hit communities recover. "Our country . . . the disaster-affected communities will certainly bounce back," he said.

He added he hopes Japan, through steps it has taken and will take, can contribute to global efforts toward disaster mitigation.

Representing disaster survivors, two female high school students from Sendai, Rina Iwamoto and Risa Shibahara, recounted how they survived the disaster with the help of local communities.

Jojima will attend a high-level session Wednesday, joined by Kim and Lagarde, to highlight the need to make disaster risk management a priority in the global development agenda, before delegates wrap up the meeting with an agreement to boost disaster preparedness to mitigate related economic risks.

On Tuesday, delegates shared what Japan had learned from a joint study with the World Bank about the benefits of its disaster prevention measures, such as reinforced buildings, early warning systems and education, and the challenges it continues to face in rebuilding the disaster zone.

On the sidelines of the dialogue, prominent figures from business, the arts, politics and science will gather Wednesday to share stories about resilience in the face of disasters.

U.N. data show that more than 200 million people are affected by natural hazards every year and annual economic losses come to around $200 billion. Experts say investing in disaster resilience is more beneficial and cost-effective than merely focusing on disaster response financing.


See also


Global leaders eye better disaster preparedness in Sendai meeting


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