Prof Emily Chan and Mr CS Wong of the CCOUC team participated in the Fifteenth Meeting of The High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP) of the United Nations: 2020 HELP Actions under COVID-19 Pandemic on 29 May 2020 via Zoom. As two of the invited health experts to report to the meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof Chan has delivered a presentation entitled “COVID-19 and DRR”. The other invited speaker is Dr Ryoma Kayano, Technical Officer of World Health Organization Centre for Health Development in Kobe of Japan (WHO Kobe Centre).
The HELP meeting drew 68 high-level officials and experts from around the world to discuss the global issue of water and disasters, with COVID-19 pandemic as the pressing context. While the pandemic became the focus of this meeting, climate change threats (e.g. flooding, strong typhoons, and drought) were highlighted, as well as health in water and disasters in DRR. The importance of collaboration with health experts has also been stressed.
The meeting was chaired by Dr Seung-soo Han, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water. HELP members delivering keynote remarks in the meeting included:
The High-Level Expert Panel on Water and Disaster (HLEP/UNSGAB), predecessor of HELP, was convened at the request of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) in 2007, under the Presidency of Dr. Han Seung-soo, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea and Former President of the Korea Water Forum. The HLEP included 21 experts in disaster preparedness and response and international issues, and was co-moderated by the World Water Council, the UN Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR, the predecessor of UNDRR), the Japan Water Forum and the Korea Water Forum.