CAIRO: The Arab League affirmed on Thursday that its member states give great priority to disaster risk reduction through the implementation of the work program – the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction – approved by the Arab League. This came in a speech by the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit delivered on his behalf by the Director of the Department of Housing, Water Resources and Disaster Reduction, Dr Jamal El-Din Jaballah before the work of the first ministerial meeting of Arab ministers.
The work is to provide the necessary capabilities to confront disasters if they occur – noting that “a collective Arab mechanism of solidarity and cooperation will be established when disasters occur in the Arab countries – providing material and financial assistance to disaster-affected countries, whether inside or outside the Arab region.”
He expressed hope that the first ministerial meeting would be a “real start” for the implementation of the Arab plan for disaster reduction approved by the Arab Summit. He called on the concerned national authorities to expedite the implementation of this plan to reduce disaster risks and confront challenges, indicating that the meeting discussed a number of “important” items related to monitoring natural disasters, as well as following up on the provisions of the Arab strategy for disaster risk reduction.
He also referred to the preparation of the global forum for disaster risk reduction and defining Arab and regional emergency plans for disaster risk reduction – pointing out that this ministerial session “is being held in light of major repercussions facing the Arab region, climate and environmental changes and serious disasters that have greatly contributed to increasing rates of desertification, forest fires, water scarcity and other natural variables.”
He also referred to humanitarian disasters such as armed conflicts that affected the Middle East and North Africa region “as the Arab region is considered one of the most affected regions due to these changes.” The Kuwaiti delegation to the meeting was headed by the Deputy Permanent Representative of the State to the League of Arab States, Counselor Falah Al-Mutairi. Representatives of Arab countries and a number of Arab, regional and international organizations specialized in the field of disaster reduction and minimizing their effects will participate in the meeting. – KUNA