Conference Patrons

The Global Risk Forum GRF Davos is delighted with the support of Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Mr. Henrik Slotte, Chief Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and Mrs. Sally Fegan-Wyles of Ireland, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Acting Head and Executive Director of UNITAR. They all strongly represent the aims and goals of the International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC and reflect the values of sustainable development and integrative risk management.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

The importance of disaster risk reduction for building safer communities is increasingly at the global level - but we need to do more. As the end date of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 approaches and in preparation for the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that will be held in 2015, it is vital that we keep emphasizing the need for comprehensive risk assessments.

The Chair's Summary of the 4th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (2013) highlighted the importance of the integration of disaster risk management into education at all levels and called for greater efforts to be made in ensuring that all schools are built to resilient standards. This is the importance of the work of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector, which UNESCO chairs, in supporting ever more effective measures toward achieving safety in educational facilities.

The goal of the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference -- IDRC Davos 2014 -- is to craft solutions to the challenge all societies face today, by managing risks, reducing, disasters and adapting to climate change. This resonates with all of UNESCO's action to raise awareness and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience among all relevant actors. For all these reasons, UNESCO is pleased to be associated with IDRC Davos 2014, which I see as a new step in the cooperation launched in June 2011 between UNESCO and the Global Risk Forum Davos. I wish every success to the Conference and look forward to its conclusions.

Henrik Slotte, Chief Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP has been an active participant of International Disaster Risk Conferences in the past and we look forward to engaging in this year’s event. The conference, set in Davos, will bring together risk managers from diverse fields, public and private, fostering intellectual debate and dialogue. It is an important milestone in the led up to the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Sendai where a new framework on Disaster Risk Reduction is expected to be agreed and will provide a unique opportunity for experts around the world to come together and discuss both technical and political matters.

Sally Fegan-Wyles of Ireland, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Acting Head and Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

The world’s vulnerability to natural disasters is on the rise. Because of the growing need of skills and methodologies to protect lives, livelihoods and development gains from disasters, UNITAR is committed to supporting governments and local authorities to develop capacities to address disaster risk and build resilience. We work in partnership with UN system agencies and programmes and together with an extensive network of training and research institutions. Despite progress made globally on the development front, the impact of disasters continues to be a major obstacle to the world’s welfare: still too many people lose their lives to disasters while the number of the affected continues to rise. Trillions of dollars are lost to disasters while emergency respond cost the international community precious funding that could find much more productive use. UNITAR beneficiaries around the world are aware that achieving results in the areas of preparedness and response alone is no longer enough: countries have to address the drivers of disaster risk. To achieve this, a comprehensive and coherent effort is required, not only in each country and region, but also internationally with the support of the entire UN system.

The UNITAR training and research offer on DRR includes online and face-to-face courses, the study of specific knowledge development methods, and the use of applied technology and geographic information systems. Our commitment is to support beneficiaries across all member states in the application of concrete DRR solutions so that national and local authorities can turn the principles endorsed at international level into usable policies and practices adapted to the needs of each vulnerable community. Our collaboration with other partners within and outside the UN system is centred on the inter-action between DRR and other related areas, such as development, climate change, migration, and human rights. UNITAR experts deliver training and also help countries set up and complete projects for the use of applied technology and new knowledge solutions for emergency response, disaster management and disaster risk reduction.