Monday, November 2, 2009

Resilience is about Solidarity

The Aidmatrix Foundation attended the International Disaster and Emergency Resilience (IDER) annual conference held October 19 thru 21st in Karlstad, Sweden. The conference was hosted by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). Sweden holds the European Presidency from July to December 2009.

Helena Lindberg, Director General of MSB, opened the conference. In her introductory remarks Ms. Lindgerg said, “There are no boundaries in contingencies. Preparedness is all.” Approximately 70 senior representatives from disaster relief agencies, consultancies, governments and the EU Commission participated. Notable amongst the participants was Her Excellency Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson, Ambassador to Sweden from the Philippines who gave a compelling view of her country’s vulnerability to natural disasters and a profile of disaster response in typhoon emergencies.

Over the 2-day conference presentations addressed issues of Emergency Disasters on Road and Rail Transport; Lessons Identified from Recent Disasters, and Major City Resilience-Links between Government, Business and the Emergency Services. The session on NGOs Response to Disasters included presentations from Feed the Children, and Global FoodBanking Network (USA) and the Civil Protection unit of the EU Office of the Red Cross.

Shari Temple, Managing Director, Aidmatrix EMEA, addressed the assembly on the topic of secondary disasters in crisis scenarios under the heading Critical National Infrastructure. Ms. Temple's presentation was well received. People said they were so concerned with primary disaster response that hearing the effect of unneeded donations in terms of both time and money enlightening and cautionary.

The unifying message of the conference was set forth by Lindberg, who noted that, “Resilient societies are societies which can bounce back from disasters. Resilience is about the capacity to give and to receive help. Resilience is about solidarity.” A clear call to action and renewed commitment which resonated deeply with all conference participants.

Elena Mendoza
Marketing Director, Aidmatrix Europe

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