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On June 25, SGI and ACT Alliance co-organized a side event titled “The Role of Faith Based Organizations in Disaster Resilience” at the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held from June 22 to 26 in Bangkok, Thailand. AMCDRR was organized by the Royal Thai Government and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
Some 50 people, including government, NGO, and faith-based organizations (FBOs) representatives attended the side event, which aimed to promote greater recognition among government and UN agencies of the unique role of FBOs in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and response.
Representatives of ACT Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organizations, presented insights from disaster relief and prevention work carried out in Myanmar. Soka Gakkai Youth Peace Committee Chair Nobuyuki Asai presented Soka Gakkai’s response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. In his presentation, concurring with other speakers, Mr. Asai focused on the unique placement of FBOs with their extensive social networks, intricate knowledge of the community and commitment to the relief of suffering including its psychological aspects. He also shared the results of a survey on disaster awareness carried out by Soka Gakkai youth in Shikoku.
The side event also saw the launch of an FBO Statement on Disaster Risk Reduction. The statement calls for disaster risk reduction strategies to include coordinated efforts of FBOs, local governments and community organizations and was the result of a multifaith consultation on disaster risk reduction organized by SGI, ACT Alliance and Caritas Asia, a Catholic relief agency, on June 22. The FBO statement was referenced, along with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2014 Peace Proposal, in the overall Statement of Voluntary Commitments of Civil Society Organizations submitted to the AMCDRR.
On July 15, the FBO statement, signed by SGI, Caritas Asia, Act Alliance, the Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI) and Dompet Dhuafa, an Indonesian NGO, was introduced by SGI’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva Kazunari Fujii during the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
[Adapted from a report from SGI Office of Public Information (SGI-OPI) and June 28, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-OPI]
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