Monday, 12 September 2011

Sha Zukang on the News: Switzerland - SDC to hold international conference on environmental disasters

Coordinated responses to large-scale disasters and their impact on the environment is the subject of the Wilton Park conference from 12 to 15 September in Glion near Montreux. The conference initiated by Switzerland will prepare the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) next year. In the margins of the Wilton Park conference President of the Confederation Micheline Calmy-Rey met UN Under Secretary General Sha Zukang in Geneva.

Disasters, whether natural or caused by human action, have a serious impact on human beings and on the environment. Crisis arrangements and the response time of emergency organisations as well as the co-ordinated cooperation of humanitarian organisations are crucial in environmental disasters. The better they are, the better the chances of saving lives, improving development and protecting the environment in the long term.

About 60 representatives of humanitarian institutions together with environmental experts and crisis managers from international and non-governmental institutions will take part in the Wilton Park conference on environmental disasters. The conference will be organised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Coordination (SDC), the relevant UN organisations and the renowned Wilton Park Institute which specialises in international dialogue. The conference was initiated by ambassador Toni Frisch, who as the government delegate for humanitarian aid and president of the Advisory Group on Environmental Emergencies has politically anchored the issue of disaster Response in UN bodies and humanitarian organisations.

The Wilton Park conference is also preparation for the UN conference on Sustainable Development Rio + 20 in June 2012 in Brazil. UN Under Secretary General Sha Zukang has been appointed Secretary General of this conference. Rio + 20 will therefore be on the agenda of the meeting between President of the Confederation Mrs Calmy-Rey und UN Under Secretary General Sha Zukang in Geneva.

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