TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In order to improve disaster responses at the global and national levels, and commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 9/21 earthquake in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Australian Office Taipei, and the British Office in Taipei held an online seminar on Friday (Sept. 24).
The virtual meeting was organized under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) and titled “Building Disaster Resilience at Global and National Levels,” with 135 disaster prevention experts and officials hailing from 34 countries in attendance.
Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠), MOFA Deputy Minister Harry Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁), AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chief Representative Izumi Hiroyasu, Australian representative Jenny Bloomfield, and British representative John Dennis delivered opening remarks through pre-recorded videos, CNA reported.
In her message, Oudkirk said the "U.S. is committed to working with partners on disaster relief and response.” She mentioned that U.S. President Joe Biden and other partners introduced a plan for global infrastructure development at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, U.K. called the “Build Back Better World Initiative.”
This infrastructure partnership seeks to “mobilize infrastructure investments in low- and middle-income countries to support sustainable infrastructure development in the areas of climate, health and health security, technology, and gender equity and equality,” Oudkirk said.
Bloomfield said that strengthening disaster resilience and assisting affected communities, as well as reducing disaster risks and mitigating the impact of future calamities are important goals for everyone. The pandemic has made the world aware of how fast situations can change and the importance of bolstering disaster prevention, CNA cited her as saying.
Izumi pointed out that 22 years ago, on September 21, a major earthquake occurred in central Taiwan, causing immense damage. "This incident tells us that it is important to understand the threats posed by natural disasters and to continuously strive to minimize losses," he said.
Due to global climate change, the scale and frequency of natural disasters are larger and more frequent than in the past, and more international cooperation is required, Izumi added.
Meanwhile, Dennis said the U.K. has announced it will contribute £120 million (US$164.21 million) to fund regional disaster prevention plans, including the Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The nation hopes to protect 1 billion people from disasters by 2025, he said, according to CNA.
Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, U.K. previously held a disaster resilience workshop under the GCTF in March, where the countries affirmed the commitment of like-minded partners to expanding cooperation in disaster prevention and mitigation.