Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation - International Parliamentarians meet in Malta in preparation for Copenhagen

“The International Roundtable of Parliamentarians on Disaster risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in preparation for Copenhagen” opened today in Malta with the objective to reach a common position for the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as the Cop 15 - Copenhagen Conference.
At the two day meeting parliamentarians from all continents are discussing the main issues concerning disaster reduction and Climate Change Adaptation from a regional perspective and will thus contribute through their direct experiences to the drafting of a joint document to be presented in Copenhagen. This activity once more underlines the ever increasing importance of the role that parliamentary diplomacy is playing in support of the more traditional diplomatic channels between governments.
The international roundtable is a result of ongoing collaboration between the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), following from bilateral meetings between Mrs. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Dr. Sergio Piazzi, PAM Secretary General. The meeting has also garnered the full support of the Offices of the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi, the Minister of Resources and Rural Affairs of Malta, Hon. George Pullicino, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta, Hon. Louis Galea.
The inaugural session, chaired by PAM Secretary General, Dr. Sergio Piazzi, was addressed by Hon. Jesmond Mugliett, head of the Maltese delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM). He emphasized the need to come to terms with these issues in the shortest timeframe and also highlighted the vulnerability of Malta to the effects of climate change, rising of temperatures and of the sea levels.
The Conference was also addressed by Ms Margareta Wahlström, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, who concentrated her intervention on the preparedness of countries in case of disasters and how important
prevention and disaster management are in order to save lives and reduce the elevated costs that arise as a consequence of the wider effects that hit different sectors.
Hon. Suleiman Ghneimat, Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean highlighted the risks that the Mediterranean will face in the next 50 years and invited the parliamentarians to take advantage of their positions to influence their respective governments to prioritise these issues and find common grounds for a common approach to the solution of an issue which is of interest to all mankind.

ISSUED ON: 23.11.2009

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