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ITU to Participate in Mumbai's World Conference on Disaster Reduction

ITU to Participate in Mumbai's World Conference on Disaster Reduction

MUMBAI, India, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the latest global organization to indicate its participation in the forthcoming "World Conference on Disaster Reduction," to be held in Mumbai from November 16th to 18th 2005.

In a communication to the organizers of the Conference, which lays focus on the corporate sector's role and responsibility, Dr. Cosmos Zavazava, Chief a.i. Business Development Unit (ITU) has said he will be presenting a paper, titled, "the role of ICTs in disaster management/mitigation" at the event.

The World Bank has already agreed to be a partner to the Conference, which is co-sponsored by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), Geneva.

As many as 400 delegates from 22 countries across the five continents of the globe are expected to attend the three-day event, initiated by Global Forum for Disaster Reduction (GFDR) and organized by New Media Communication, publishers of transcontinental business magazines.

The Conference, the first of its kind to be held in India, will be inaugurated by S.M. Krishna, Governor of Maharashtra, the host state, and attended by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahai, besides the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Babulal Gaur.

According to GFDR Chairman Anil Sinha, the increasing instances of disasters have taken an enormous toll on the socio-economic development across the globe in recent years and hence the need for a conference at the global level to build up preparedness among all concerned agencies to meet such calamities.

Sinha, former Executive Director of the National Institute of Disaster Management, listed the main reasons for disasters as population growth, poverty, unplanned or ill-planned urban development, or development of exposed areas and deteriorating environmental conditions. "We aim to build a culture of prevention towards a disaster free society," he added.

Statistics reveal that 52 percent of the Indian sub-continent is vulnerable to earthquakes, 28 percent to drought, 12 percent to floods and 8.0 percent to cyclones. Almost one million houses are damaged annually apart from human, economic, social and other losses.

A significant feature of the event is that it will focus on the role and responsibility of the corporate sector in disaster management, which explains the choice of Mumbai, India's commercial capital, as the Conference venue.

"The involvement of the corporate sector in disaster management and mitigation is the most pressing need of the hour," said Satya Swaroop, Project Director, World Conference on Disaster Reduction, adding: "we are passing through times when countries are grappling with disasters and struggling to cope with their aftermath as we have seen in the recent past -- the Tsunami, the Mumbai floods, Hurricane Katrina, followed by Rita, the Kashmir earthquake."

Swaroop, who is also Managing Editor of New Media Communication, added: "As there will be no end to these calamities, we hope the Conference will lay down new and bold approaches in terms of preparedness, connectivity among communities, corporates and governments."

The Conference has been planned as a follow-up event of Hyogo Declaration of the UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held in Kobe, Japan, in January 2005, which also called upon different stakeholders, including the corporate sector, to join hands so that the concepts and issues of disaster management could be effectively dealt with.

"The corporate sector, by its very nature of activities, is highly vulnerable to disasters. Experience shows that major disasters affecting the corporate sector influence the well-being of the society due to loss of production and jobs," Swaroop said. "It is therefore very important that the corporate sector understands its vulnerability to disasters and should be prepared to take measures to minimise their impact," he added.

The event, held for the first time on a global scale in India, is managed by CMP, organizers of conferences and exhibitions worldwide.

Highlighting his organization's involvement with the Conference, M. Gandhi, Managing Director, CMP Media (Thailand) said, "the reason why we are volunteering is that we would like to put our professional expertise in the management of international trade shows and events for a positive cause with the right social perspective and there could be nothing more compelling than any event linked to disaster management."

Important keynote speakers at the conference will be Terry Jeggle of ISDR, Ramakrishna, former Chief, L&T, Dr. F.C. Kohli, Tata Sons, Prabhuu Sinha, Global Head, Satyam Computers Services Limited, Ajay Lavakare, CEO, RMSI, Masayuki Kitamoto, Executive Director, Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), Kobe, Japan, Arjun Katoch, Chief, Field Coordination Support Section, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva, Dr. Cosmas L. Zavazava, Head, Unit for Least Developed Countries, ITU Focal Point for Emergency Telecommunications, ITU, A.M. Uplenchwar, Director Pipelines, IOCL, Dr. Sangita Reddy, MD, Apollo Hospitals, Prof Ravi Sinha, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, and T.C. Venkat Subramanian, CMD, Export Import Bank of India.

Contact: Satya Swaroop New Media Communications +91 9820031016 [email protected]

New Media Communications

CONTACT: Satya Swaroop of New Media Communications, +91-9820031016,
[email protected]

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