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de Brún MEP 'All government policies need to be disaster proof'

8 October, 2007

Bairbre de Brún MEP, a founding member of the new Legislators 'Network for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction' has warned the Assembly, the British and Irish governments and the European Commission that all policies need to withstand the challenges of climate change. This summer's news about floods, droughts and fires have made it clear that climate change makes it ever more urgent to ensure that our policies are to be disaster proof.

The cross-party, international initiative will unite parliamentarians who see that in addition to bringing down the emissions that cause climate change, the world also needs to adapt. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently confirmed that risks from natural hazards such as floods, droughts, earthquakes and fires will continue to increase in the coming decades and cost lives and livelihoods.

Ms de Brún said:

"All investments and policies in Europe should be 'disaster and climate proof'. We have recently seen a stark example of a lack of local disaster-proofing in Stonebridge Meadows in Stoneyford where this housing estate, built on a flood plain, has experienced repeated serious flooding, making the houses uninhabitable. We have to ensure that preventative measures are in place and that protection structures are well maintained. We also need to have strong policy controls on where building takes place.

"EU aid should be designed in a way that will withstand the increased risks of storms, floods and other extreme events. This is important within the EU but it is equally important for EU Aid to developing countries.

Ms de Brún MEP concluded: "While much political attention is rightly focused on bringing down the emissions that cause climate change, we also need to work on adapting to climate change. Even if we succeed in Bali in December in agreeing strict emission reduction standards, we will still need to deal with changing climate conditions for decades to come. We need to be prepared."

Note to Editors:

The 'Legislators Network for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction' will be launched in the European Parliament in Brussels on October 9, the day before International World Disaster Day (October 10). Participants will include members of the European Parliament, members of national parliaments, representatives of national focal points for disaster risk reduction, the European Commission, the United Nations, NGO's and the business community.

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