The Board of Directors of the Global Private Sector, Coalition for Disaster Risk Reduction under the United Nations, has announced the appointment of the Emirati international expert Dr Mahmoud Al-Burai. The coalition collaborates with all UN member states to implement disaster risk reduction strategies.
Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, has appointed Dr Al-Burai as a member of the Board of Directors of this alliance. The alliance seeks to accelerate public and private investments, enhance disaster preparedness, reduce impacts, and build sustainable resilience.
Dr Mahmoud Al-Burai expressed his pride in joining this prestigious international alliance. He highlighted his dedication to working with fellow members to achieve the set objectives and expressed gratitude to the leadership for their unwavering support throughout his career.
He said, “I am honoured by the trust Ms Mami Mizutori has placed in me. This appointment encourages me to contribute even more globally to the objectives of the Sustainable Development 2030 agenda. It also underscores the UAE’s commitment to global collaboration for an inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
He added, “This achievement fills me with pride, but I owe it to the continuous support from our wise leadership, represented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the State, and his deputy, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Their guidance has inspired us to strive for a brighter future for humanity, as shown by their investments in sustainable development and engagement in global sustainability initiatives. The upcoming Climate Summit COP 28, which the UAE will host, is a testament to these efforts.”
Dr Al-Burai stressed the importance of disaster risk reduction for sustainable development. Proactive public and private investments based on risk awareness are more cost-effective than only focusing on post-incident response and recovery. This approach ensures faster recovery from disasters and promotes sustainable development continuity.
He emphasised that countries should establish and strengthen comprehensive risk management systems based on empirical evidence and integrate disaster risk reduction into decision-making. Nations without such systems face much higher mortality rates than those with them.
He also highlighted the need for efforts across all sectors, especially in priority areas. This approach involves understanding disaster risks, refining management strategies, investing in risk mitigation, and increasing preparedness levels. The emphasis is also on effective building during the recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction phases.
Dr Al-Burai has held many international positions in sustainability and urban planning throughout his distinguished career. His experience working with various coalition members positions him to spearhead positive change towards sustainable development goals. His mission includes fostering a culture of disaster prevention and resilience and rallying stakeholders from both public and private sectors to address the impact of disasters, especially on the most vulnerable.
Significantly, Dr Al-Burai was the only Arab recipient of the ‘City Changer’ award in 2021, presented by the Global Urban Campaign led by the United Nations. He was recognised as one of ten global leaders in sustainable development for their roles in addressing climate change challenges to lead the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), focusing on sustainable growth and societies that prioritise human well-being.