At a press conference during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco, Honorary Georgian Consul Thelmo Cunanan announced that he and his partner-stakeholders will be holding the Georgian Disaster Risk Management Conference (GDRMC) in Tbilisi in May 2017. Others involved in the project include the West Point Society of Georgia composed of all Georgian graduates of the United States Military Academy, Caucasus University, and Tbilisi City Hall. One of the themes of COP22 was sustainable development and the need to prepare for the effects of Climate Change. In June 2015, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgiam was hit by a devastating flood that caused widespread damage to several parts of the city, resulting in loss of lives and property.
One of the main objectives of the GDRMC is to bring public and private multi-sectoral groups together to craft the Georgia Statement, a series of recommendations aimed at helping the Georgian government develop its disaster response policies. The conference also hopes to increase awareness of climate change. Prior to the flood in 2015, Georgia had been spared from major environment disturbances. Consul Cunanan will bring several Filipino DRM experts to Georgia to facilitate the discussions and make presentations.
The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,100 islands, is recognized by the UN as one of the countries that is most at risk from the effects of Climate Change, particularly from rising oceans, changes in weather seasonal weather cycles, and severe tropical hurricanes. Furthermore, the Philippines lies geographically on the “ring of fire”, making it susceptible to earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. These have given Filipinos valuable experience in how to manage and prepare for disasters. These lessons will be shared with the Georgian people and government.