Former US president Bill Clinton on Monday pressed donors at a UN conference in Germany for more money to rebuild communities shattered by the South Asian tsunami and create warning systems against future sea swells.
Clinton said more money is needed to help those affected by the tsunami.
The Third International Conference on Early Warning Systems aims to build on past experiences as wells as emphasizes on concrete ways to encourage early warnings against natural hazards. Under the guiding principle of ‘From Concept to Action’, scientists, experts and people working in the field, are sharing the table with policy makers to draw up concrete proposals as to how, existing gaps in early warning systems can be closed. The increase in natural calamities in the recent past, from the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India, to the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean to last year’s Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast has reiterated the importance of such discussions.
The proceedings on the first day started with many influential people making an appearance, including, Ms Katherine Sierra, the Vice President of the World Bank, Mr. Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Dr. Irmgard Schwaetzer, Former Federal Minister and Chairman of the DKKV. But the biggest attraction of the day was former U.S. President, Bill Clinton.
Technology alone is not sufficient: Clinton
Ex-President Clinton, under the capacity of UN Special Envoy for tsunami relief, addressed the participants and emphasized the need to establish early warning systems. He said, “Early warning systems are the key to effective reconstruction," further, he said, "They do save lives and livelihoods and in the world we live in with so much division between the rich and the poor, they also save an enormous amount of investment for the donor countries who will be called upon to help when people die from such disasters."
At the same time President Clinton warned that merely developing the technologies would not be sufficient in itself. He said, “Satellites, voice data networks will make us safer but we must invest in the training, institution building, awareness raising on the ground. If we want effective early warning systems we must work together; the government, federal and local officials, scientists, policy makers, legislators with teachers and community leaders”.
Not just small talk: Steinmeier
The German Federal Foreign Minister, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier emphasized that there would be much more that talking done in the conference. Whilst speaking to the members of the press, he said, “On this conference we have a number of concrete issues. This is not another talk shop, this is a market place for action really”.
The conference runs until Wednesday and will see delegates vet more than 100 project proposals for warning systems around the world.