Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Ministry of the Interior
Press release 22/2013
24 January 2013
Margareta Wahlström, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, will visit Finland on 24 and 25 January. During her visit, Wahlström will speak at the seminar “Preparation is for everyone”, organised by the Ministry of the Interior. She will also have meetings with leaders of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and representatives of civil society organisations.
Disasters increase poverty and slow down development. Advance preparation can mean great savings of human life. In the past 20 years, natural disasters have quadrupled and the devastation they cause has increased. It is four times cheaper to prepare for disasters in advance than to repair the destruction they cause.
In the Government’s Development Policy Programme, Finland is committed to strengthening preparedness substantially as an element of development cooperation. Finland has also adopted the so-called Hyogo Framework for Action, which is a UN-led strategy for natural disaster reduction and damage limitation. Finland has a national action programme in line with the UN strategy and a national cooperation network led by the Ministry of the Interior.
Margareta Wahlström has over 30 years of experience in disaster and conflict areas. She has served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction since 2008. Before that, she was Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs responsible for emergency relief coordination.
Wahlström will speak at the seminar “Preparation is for everyone”, held at the House of the Estates in Helsinki 25 January. The seminar topics include arrangements ensuring the security of supply in Finland, preparedness efforts of civil society and companies, warning systems of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the storms Hannu and Tapani from the perspective of rescue services as well as the draft Bill to improve the security of the electricity supply.
Additional information: Taito Vainio, Senior Officer, Department for Rescue Services, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 71 8788 423, Counsellor Kaisa Heikkilä, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 6286 or mobile tel. +358 40 352 0739