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UNGA 78: Massari addressed the Sixth Committee on protection on persons after disasters

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 4 – Addressing for the first time the Sixth Committee during this year’s session, the Italian permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Maurizio Massari, confirmed Italy’s full support to a convention on the protection of persons in the event of disasters that fosters multilateral cooperation in line with the  Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The issue of disasters – and their impacts on societies and populations – remains of paramount importance for the international community in the context of the present grave climate crisis and its dire consequences on societies, especially on vulnerable communities”, said Ambassador Massari. The 2023 report of the IPCC has highlighted once again the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, fires and floods. In terms of deaths, disasters related to extreme weather events disproportionally affect countries with less developed systems of early warning and low coastlines. “The recent disaster in the town of Derna is a stark reminder of those realities”, commented the Italian diplomat.

However, the 2021 WMO report on weather-related disasters shows that the brunt is also felt in countries and regions with more developed systems, noting that the 2003 and 2010 heatwaves in Europe were responsible for around 80% of the deaths due to weather-related disasters in Europe over the period 1970 to 2019, amounting to over 127,000 deaths. Earlier this year part of northern Italy has been hit by disastrous floods causing severe damage, displacement of several thousand of people and loss of lives.

Moving on to address the role of the law – and international law in particular – in the context of disasters, Massari argued that elaborating a convention on the international cooperation on the protection of persons in the event of disasters would fill an important legal gap. “It would be complementary to and in line with the Sendai Framework. It would not be a mere exercise in progressive development of international law detached from State practice and existing international law and without any added value in terms of certainty, predictability and preparedness as compared to soft law arrangements”. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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