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  • Balaclava, Mauritius  06 March 2019
    When disaster strikes, it is all about the people: using technologies in disaster management

    The Global Forum on Emergency Telecommunications (GET-19) was held in Balaclava, Mauritius from 6-8 March.

    I was impressed by the quality and content of the high-level debates and discussions that took place, which sent a clear message on the importance of fully leveraging the power and potential of ICTs in disaster risk reduction and management.

    By focusing on building closer collaboration and partnerships, we can go much further in terms of mitigating against disasters and saving lives.

    At the forum, we reaffirmed the need to strengthen coordination and cooperation at all levels, as well as the importance of data, trust and the need for a collective understanding of all phases of disaster management and agreed that the preparedness phase is crucial to saving lives.

    We reinforced the principle that all actions and programmes must be people-centred: when disaster strikes, it is all about the people. We presented the disaster connectivity map initiative to provide real-time connectivity information when disasters strike as well as the global guidelines on National Emergency Telecommunications Plans.  

    We shared best practices from Vanuatu, Mexico, Japan and Colombia and presented the study on Disruptive Technologies, which will help to maximize the potential of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, robotics and drones.

    I also had the opportunity of addressing ICT and engineering students from the University of Mauritius, and briefing them on the work we do and the objectives of this conference. It is always so inspiring to meet such committed young people.

    On 8 March, we celebrated International Women's Day, by reflecting on the digital gender divide, gender roles, and the particular ways in which women can be affected by disasters.

    GET-19 Opening Speech (English, French)

    GET-19 Closing Speech (English)​