Remarks at the Sixth Committee Agenda Item 87 – Protection of Persons in the Event of Disaster

Mark Simonoff
Legal Adviser
United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 18, 2021


Thank you, Madam Chair.

The United States underscores its commitment to work to reduce the risks and impacts of disasters at home as well as abroad. To this end, we are promoting efforts to reduce the risk of disasters and respond to them in a way that takes into account the protection and material needs of those disproportionately affected—including persons with disabilities, children, women, and older persons—before, during and after disasters.

This Committee has considered this topic several times since the International Law Commission completed its work on draft articles and commentary on this topic and forwarded its recommendation that the General Assembly elaborate a convention based on the draft articles. In the view of the United States, this issue would be best approached through the provision of practical guidance and cooperation rather than through the elaboration of an international agreement.

In that regard, we have been pleased to work with member states and stakeholders in a variety of fora to enhance collaboration in this area, such as at the Global and Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has also worked this year in collaboration with the Organization of American

States (OAS) to enhance disaster preparedness by facilitating Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) basic training for emergency management agencies in nine Caribbean states.

The U.S. government also supports a variety of programs and activities in this area. For example, we have supported the work of several partners to implement aspects of the strategic frameworks and work plans of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC). This includes supporting the Cluster’s Information and Analysis Task Team to develop the Protection Analysis Framework. This tool fills a priority gap by easily converting critical information from frontline protection workers into trends and recommendations for quick implementation by response decision-makers. We have also coordinated the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership, providing technical support and assistance to Caribbean islands since 2019 to strengthen their disaster resilience and enhance their adaptive capacity from the impacts of climate change.

We look forward to continuing to work with other states and engaging in such fora and activities to advance work in this area.

Thank you, Madam Chair.