The United Nations General Assembly convened a World Conference on Disaster Reduction, to be held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, from 18 to 22 January 2005. The Conference was to take stock of progress in disaster risk reduction accomplished since the Yokohama Conference of 1994 and to make plans for the next ten years.
In order to prevent possible catastrophes or at least to minimize consequential losses, the conference adopted a plan of action that included the following points:
* All of the countries at risk should define and introduce disaster prevention measures.
* Early-warning systems geared directly to the needs of those affected should be put in place where the threat is greatest.
* Children should be taught in school how to live safely with natural hazards.
* Hospitals should be subject to the strictest building regulations so that they can withstand the most powerful earthquakes, windstorms or other hazards.
* Poor people should not be left to cope on their own following natural catastrophes. They must have access to ways of balancing risk through financial means, for example through insurance.
* In the next ten years, 10% of the billions spent on aid and relief following natural catastrophes should be earmarked for risk reduction (prevention).
* Disaster planning has to become a fixed component in sustainable development policy.
Most of the Governments in South Asia do not appear to have initiated any of the actions recommended by the conference - at least not in effective way. All in all, the results of the conference have been less than satisfactory, although the conference takes place only every ten years; no new visions were presented. In the case of pressing issues such as a tsunami early-warning system, national interests took precedence over the interests of quickly and effectively helping...