By Matthews Malata

Malawi has been highlighted as one of the countries likely to generate interest at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPF 2019) starting Wednesday 15 May to Friday 17th May in Geneva Switzerland.

Malawi has been highlighted following heavy winds and floods that killed 60 people, damaged property worth millions of Kwacha while others are still missing. Other countries in the spotlight include Zimbabwe and Mozambique for being heavily affected Cyclone IDAI and India.

Denis McClean, Head of Communications for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) confirmed the development adding 5000 delegates from 192 UN Member states will be attending the conference.

“The UN Member States would be represented in high numbers, including countries which had recently experienced extreme weather events, such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and India” Said McClean.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will be preceded by the Second Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference on 13 and 14 May to discuss increasing losses of life despite having advanced early warning systems (EWS) in place.

EWS are considered a priority in the the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – a 15 year global strategy UN Member states are following up to 2030 in order to reduce global disaster mortality , number of affected people , disaster damage to critical infrastructure and economic losses in relation to global GDP.

“There is nothing so urgent as the discussions we will have at GP2019: we must act now, or our future on this planet is in doubt. We all agree that early warning systems are critical to saving lives and limiting damage.

Of particular interest, the conference will discuss events from Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique which showed that there were still large losses of life with extreme weather events even with advanced warning” McClean added.

Ideally Presidents or Ministers attend the high level conference. With the elections around the corner the Government of Malawi has sent a 2 member delegation comprising Director of Disaster Management Affairs James Chiusiwa and Chief Mitigation Officer in the same department Stern Kita.

Director in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs James Chiusiwa confirmed that different stakeholders have been requesting information from the department in order to appreciate the current situation and believes the GP conference provides a rare opportunity to update the world on what happened and measures being taken to minimize disaster losses when hit by any disaster.

“We understand a lot of people will be eager to hear from us following what happened and we are prepared to share our story”, said Chiusiwa who will deliver a statement on behalf of the Malawi Government

During the conference which will be officially opened by Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction a new report presenting global disaster losses ( Global Assessment Report -GAR2019) is expected to be released .

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is organised after every 2 years to assess progress made by countries in implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Discussions involve DRR experts and practitioners, community representatives, media and academics and focuses on ways of reducing risk and promotion of resilience building.