With focus on natural disasters, UN risk reduction forum opens in Mexico

Opening a major United Nations conference on risk reduction in Cancun, Mexico, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed cautioned that the world would not reach its development goals without tackling climate change and disaster risk.

Human and economic losses from disasters cannot continue at current levels if we are going to progress with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Deputy Secretary-General said at the opening on Wednesday evening.

Held every two years since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to discuss disaster reduction, the 2017 Global Platform � the fifth such event to date � is bringing together some 6,000 Heads of State, policy makers, disaster risk managers, civil society and other participants.

This is the first international summit on disaster since the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in 2015 in the northern Japanese city after which it was named, and consists of seven targets and four priorities for action that aim for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

Last year, 445 million people were affected by disasters linked to natural hazards worldwide including floods, storms, earthquakes and drought, 8,000 people lost their lives and direct economic losses from major disaster events were estimated at $138.8 billion.

The World Bank estimates that the real cost to the global economy from disasters is $520 billion per year and that they push 24 million people into poverty annually.

The challenge is how we are going to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if annual economic losses from disasters can wipe out the entire GDP of a low income country overnight and force millions from their homes, Ms. Mohammed said.

Source: UN News Centre

Transfer of Dockyard to SA Navy underway

Pretoria � Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the transfer of Dockyard to the South African Navy is underway, as recommended by the Defence Review 2015.

The multi-lateral agreement between the DOD [Department of Defence], Denel and ARMSCOR has been signed and Denel is awaiting National Treasury approval, the Minister said.

Delivering her department’s Budget Vote in Parliament on Thursday, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said consultations with the employees of Dockyard are continuing to ensure that all labour matters are attended to.

The South African Navy has continued to deploy vessels in support of the Maritime Security Strategy.

Over the past year, the SA Navy has conducted three protracted patrols in the Mozambique channel utilising a frigate, an offshore patrol vessel and the SAS Drakensberg respectively, the Minister said.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said the SAS Amatola, one of the frigates, successfully participated in the SS Mendi Centenary commemoration in the United Kingdom and Exercise Good Hope in Germany.

The Minister said since the sod turning ceremony in December 2015, significant progress has been made in terms of converting Naval Station Durban into a fully-fledged naval base.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Alternate Foreign Minister G. Katrougalos meets with the Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs, A. Birchall

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Cabinet speaks on Eskom

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