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Meridian Institute

Public and Private Sectors Sign Joint ‘Statement of Intent’ at APEC to Strengthen Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii (November 11, 2011) -- Leaders from the public and private sectors signed an historic joint “Statement of Intent” during the APEC meeting in Honolulu this week and pledged to work together on disaster risk reduction and resilience (DRRR) in the Asia-Pacific region. These organizations believe that public-private collaboration on DRRR can help to save lives, ensure economic vitality and enhance human well-being across the region.
Starting with discussions between the University of Hawaii and U.S. Pacific Command, Meridian facilitated a series of bi-lateral discussions which collectively set the stage for this joint statement. Meridian Institute is currently supporting the discussions of this group and is focused on establishing a formal structure for a secretariat to facilitate and manage the Asia-Pacific DRRR Collaboration. Over the next few months, Meridian will conduct a landscape assessment of DRRR capacities, including opportunities and gaps in the region, which will be used to inform the function and focus of the network’s secretariat.
Organizations and their representatives who signed the Joint Statement of Intent include:
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue
  • U.S. Pacific Command CommanderChief of Staff Rear Admiral Robin Watters
  • University of Hawaii System President M.R.C. Greenwood, Ph.D.
  • U.S. Agency for International Development Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director of External Affairs Andy Winer
  • Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas
  • Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, Ph.D.
  • U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness Timothy Manning
The signing and media opportunity followed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s High-Level Policy Dialogue on Disaster Resiliency on November 11, during which she emphasized the importance of an expanded role in disaster risk reduction and resilience on the part of all economies throughout the Asia Pacific and announced the signing event later in the day.
As natural disasters in the region continue to claim tens of thousands of lives and cause billions in monetary damage each year, it is incumbent on today’s leaders to foster collaborative solutions that support communities’ and countries’ disaster risk reduction efforts and encourage planning in advance for recovery. No economy in the region is immune 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.
Each of the groups represented above will contribute their expertise and field of specialization to the collaborative initiative. Much is already going on in this arena but this is the first step toward concrete actions and programs that will be pursued collaboratively as well as individually. The signers intend to quickly broaden the collaboration through the active participation of organizations across the Asia-Pacific region.
“This is an historic document and effort," said Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  "We all do our very best to respond and collaborate whenever a disaster strikes. This event signals our mutual intent to work on an ongoing basis across sectors and across the region.”
“The Rockefeller Foundation supports various resilience building activities in the Asia-Pacific region with an emphasis on enhancing individual, community, national and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow,” said Rockefeller Foundation Vice President Dr. Zia Khan. “Building resilience involves bringing experiences, knowledge and action together in the right way to spawn new approaches to solving long-term, chronic stresses and acute crises. We are very proud to be a part of this unfolding cross sector collaboration and hope that it encourages others to participate as well.”