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Home > News > Report

Mumbai to play host to global conference on disaster reduction

September 30, 2005 15:45 IST

World Conference on Disaster Reduction, with its focus on the corporate sector's role and responsibility, will be held in Mumbai from November 16 to 18, with the active involvement of the United Nations.

Announcing this at a press conference on Tuesday, Anil Sinha, chairman of Global Forum for Disaster Reduction, said that, in recent years, the increasing instances of disasters has taken an enormous toll on the socio-economic development across the globe.

Sinha, former executive director of the National Institute of Disaster Management, said, "Many may not be aware that 57 per cent of our land is vulnerable to earthquakes, 28 per cent to drought, 12 per cent to floods and 8 per cent to cyclones. Almost one million houses are damaged annually apart from human, economic, social and other losses."

The three-day event, organised by New Media Communication, in association with GFDR, is co-sponsored by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland. More than 400 delegates from 20 countries across five continents are expected to attend the conference.

In a detailed presentation, Sinha listed the main reasons for disasters as population growth, poverty, unplanned or ill-planned urban development, or development of exposed areas and deteriorating environmental conditions. "We aim to build a culture of prevention towards a disaster free society," he added.

A significant feature of the event is that it will focus on the role and responsibility of the corporate sector in disaster management, which explains the choice of Mumbai, India's commercial capital, as the conference venue.

"The involvement of the corporate sector disaster management and mitigation is the most pressing need of the hour," said Satya Swaroop, project director, World Conference on Disaster Reduction said adding "We are passing through times when countries are grappling with disasters and struggling to cope with their aftermath as we have seen in the recent past - the Tsunami, the Mumbai floods, Hurricane Katrina, followed by Rita."

Swaroop, who is also managing editor of New Media Communication, which publishes transcontinental business magazines, added, "As there will be no end to these calamities, we hope the conference will lay down new and bold approaches in terms of preparedness, connectivity among communities, corporates and governments."

The forthcoming Mumbai conference has been planned as a follow-up event of the UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, Japan, which also called for different stakeholders, including the corporate sector, so that the concepts and issues of disaster management can be dealt with.

"The corporate sector, by the very nature of its activities, is highly vulnerable to disasters. Experience shows that major disasters affecting the corporate sector influence the well-being of the society due to loss of production and jobs," Swaroop said.

"It is therefore very important that the corporate sector understands its vulnerability to disasters and should be prepared to take measures to minimise their impact," he added.

The event is managed by CMP, organizers of conferences and exhibitions worldwide. Highlighting his organisations' involvement with the Conference, M. Gandhi, managing director, CMP Media (Thailand) said, "the reason why we are volunteering is that we would like to put our professional expertise in the management of international trade shows and events for a positive cause with the right social perspective and there could be nothing more compelling than any event linked to disaster management."

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