On March 12, 2019, Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleşcanu opened the international conference on “Building resilience to natural disasters”, co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department for Emergency Situations/Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was held in Bucharest.
The conference is circumscribed to the series of events organised under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU and covers one of the most topical issues on the international agenda: the negative influence of climate change on sustainable development and its adverse impact on security. The conference was an opportunity to exchange views of substance in preparation of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit to be held in New York, in September 2019.
Stressing out in his speech that the concept of resilience to natural disasters is gaining ground across the world, the head of Romanian diplomacy pointed out that climate change is a multiplier of the threats to peace and security. He also emphasised that it was important to develop cooperation and partnership models among countries, as well as to share experiences, in order to manage those global challenges in the most effective manner.
The Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs underlined that all countries in the world, regardless of their geographical location, were exposed to climate risks, and that it took not only their solidarity and responsibility to identify solutions, but also a multilateral platform to facilitate cooperation and dialogue. Minister Teodor Meleșcanu also reiterated, both in the conference and in the bilateral talks running in parallel with the main event, that Romania would continue to promote its candidacy for a seat as non-permanent member in the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 period.
The conference was attended by the Secretaries General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie and of CARICOM, by ministers of foreign affairs of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries that were severely affected by natural disasters, by diplomats and experts of EU Member States, UN Members and NGO representatives. The opening session was moderated by Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dan Neculăescu, whereas the key speaker in the session dedicated to Romania’s experience and expertise in the area of resilience to natural disasters was Raed Arafat, Head of the Department for Emergency Situations within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The worldwide importance of the topic is proven by the significant number and interest of the participants, which is one step forward towards deeper international cooperation for a collective response to a collective problem: climate change.