Natural disasters have caused staggering economic losses, costing Asia-Pacific nations billions of dollars over the last few years. They have also brought enormous human suffering. This week, to begin to address that issue in a concerted way, public and private sectors meeting in Hawaii for the APEC conference will sign a statement of intent to strengthen regional efforts to reduce such risk in the region.
This Friday, Nov. 11, the CEO Summit Media Briefing Room at the Sheraton Waikiki – APEC headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – will be the site of an historic accord to be signed by leaders of a battery of organizations hoping to work together to build resilience in the Asia-Pacific region.
The organizations on board to sign the “Statement of Intent” feel that public-private collaboration on disaster risk reduction “can help save lives, ensure economic vitality and enhance human well-being across the region,” according to a statement released by University of Hawaii at Manoa spokeswoman Lynne Waters.
“No economy in the region is immune,” said Waters’ statement, “and each can learn from the experience of the others in dealing with natural disasters, human-induced events such as terrorism and oil spills, and other disruptions such as public health crises and economic downturns.”
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood is one of those signing the intent. Other signers are expected to include U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue and U.S. Pacific Command Commander Admiral Robert Willard. As well, signatories are expected to include U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director of External Affairs Andy Winer.
Additionally, Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin and U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye will be part of the agreement though not present to sign.
The signing will follow the APEC high-Level Policy Dialogue on Disaster Resiliency scheduled for earlier on Friday. The agreement is an attempt to reach collaborative solutions.
APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the summit brings together leaders from 21 nations for meetings in Hawaii this week.