Q. Crisis reporting and disaster preparedness are high on Luxembourg’s agenda. Why is this a priority for Luxembourg and what lessons does it hold for ASEM countries?
For Luxembourg, disaster risk reduction (DRR) is an essential element to ensure sustainable development. On average, over 200 million people worldwide are affected by disasters each year and economic losses are growing exponentially. Our commitment to DRR is a longstanding investment in building a safer world for everyone. Since 2006 Luxembourg has allocated at least 5% of its annual budget for humanitarian affairs to prevention, disaster preparedness and risk mitigation programmes. Luxembourg consistently supports the coordination work undertaken by the United Nations Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
With the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, Luxembourg took the initiative to strengthen its disaster preparedness capacities by setting up a mobile satellite telecommunication platform, Emergency.lu. Established as a public-private partnership, the platform has, since its launch in 2011, been at the disposal of the humanitarian community, to ensure access to communication via satellite in affected areas, in the immediate aftermath of catastrophes or conflicts. The Emergency.lu toolkit has been deployed in 2013 in the Philippines as a response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan and more recently in Eastern Africa in response to the Ebola crisis.
Luxembourg has showcased Emergency.lu at the ASEM Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management held in Hanoi in November 2013 and at the ASEM Roundtable on Innovations in Technologies for Disaster Rescue Efforts held in New Delhi in December 2014 and it will be introduced at the 10th ASEF Journalists’ Colloquium, which will take place on the side-lines of the ASEM FMM12. As an additional evidence of its commitment to mitigate the impact of disasters, Luxembourg has joined the ASEM initiative of areas of tangible cooperation on Disaster Management and Mitigation, Building Rescue and Relief Capacities, Technologies and Innovation in Rescue Equipment & Techniques.
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