Introduction by H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

of Draft Resolution A/C.2/70/L.11 “World Tsunami Day”

At the Plenary of the Second Committee

5 November 2015


Mr. Chairman, Fellow delegates, good morning.


           Let me start by thanking you, Ambassador Logar, for your very able chairmanship to conduct the business of the Second Committee.


           On behalf of the 61 co-sponsors listed in A/C.2/70/L.11; namely, Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Yemen and my own country, Japan, I would like to introduce the draft resolution A/C.2/70/L.11 “World Tsunami Day.”


           It is also my pleasure to announce that, as of today, we have 25 additional co-sponsors of this draft resolution. They are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Jamaica, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Mali, Nepal, Panama, Russian Federation, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.


           The total number of co-sponsors is, therefore, 86. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the co-sponsors. I also express my hope that many other member states will join the co-sponsorship.


Mr. Chairman,


           2015 has been a special year for Disaster Risk Reduction. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March, which significantly contributed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This draft resolution on “World Tsunami Day” which is in front of us was submitted on 22nd October as a follow-up to both the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda.


           Reducing 1) the mortality, 2) the number of affected people and 3) the direct economic losses from natural disasters through Disaster Risk Reduction is one of the key targets of both the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda. However, achieving this target requires a concerted effort on the part of the international community.


           Although tsunami are relatively rare phenomena among natural disasters, they cause tremendous damage both in terms of the loss of human lives and the destruction of property. At the same time, much of this damage can be avoided if the community is aware of the risks.


           A good example of how awareness can reduce risk comes from Chile, which was hit in 2010 by a very large earthquake (magnitude 8.8) and subsequent tsunami. On that day nearly 600 people were killed. Since then, the government of Chile has made a great effort to set up an early warning system. And in September this year, when another large earthquake (magnitude 8.3) and tsunami struck the country again, the government swiftly instructed over a million people to evacuate to higher ground. This time, almost all the people were spared. The number of human losses was reduced significantly to 15 people. I wish to applaud the efforts made by Chile.


           In today’s global society, even individuals from countries which have never experienced a tsunami are not immune from this risk, as they may visit places which are vulnerable to tsunami. You may recall that many tourists and other foreign nationals lost their lives in the Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunami, which struck more than 10 countries in South and South-East Asia as well as East Africa in December 2004.


           There are several ways to prevent the damage from tsunami. They are 1) to raise public awareness, 2) to have preparedness and the prompt dissemination of information through early warning systems, 3) to use traditional knowledge and, 4) to implement the concept of “build back better” throughout the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases. In fact, all these elements are included in the Sendai Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction.


           The choice of the 5th of November as the date for World Tsunami Day is closely linked to several important lessons that I have mentioned. On the 5th of November 1854, a man in a village of Japan, who recognized the signs of an approaching tsunami after a large earthquake, saved lives of his fellow villagers by setting fire to his sheaves of rice, thus quickly disseminating information about the tsunami, leading to the evacuation of the villagers. Then, in the aftermath of the disaster, he and his fellow villagers made great efforts to build back their village better than before.


Mr. Chair,


           The consultations on the draft resolution in the Second Committee are still ongoing including with regard to the title of the resolution. We believe that the designation of World Tsunami Day will contribute both to raising awareness to the risks caused by tsunami and to the implementation of the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda. I humbly request the support of all the delegations.


I thank you.


Facebook Twitter Youtube
Sitemap | Legal Matters | About Accessibility | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©2012 Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
The Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-223-4300