Message of Interim Secretary General on the occasion of the World Civil Defence Day 2019: "Children’s safety, our responsibility"

In the recent years, numerous natural and man-made disasters have struck the world. While acknowledging the extensive, frequent and damaging consequences of natural disasters, man-made disasters are no less destructive; in fact, nowadays, witnessing the catastrophic aftermaths of wars and economic stagnations, it can be said that man-made disasters are much broader in scope and consequences. Most sadly, such conflicts and instabilities have an immeasurable effect on the health and lives of human person, especially children.

Since the lives and dignities of humans ought to be both preserved and protected, children, their lives and safety should be at the forefront of this concern. It is, therefore, regrettable to see the heaviest and most anguishing price for instability and non-safety paid by the children circle more than any other age segment in a given society. Alarms are up when reviewing the latest statistics, indicating an increase, and at times, a domination of young kids in the number of dead and wounded persons among casualties during wars and natural disasters. This is why it was thought to commemorate "Children's safety, our responsibility" to be the theme for the World Civil Defense Day - 2019.

There is no doubt that cultural values, social behaviors, and professional skills acquired by children in the early years of their childhood have a long-lasting impact in later life. In other words, a child equipped with the right cultural values, social behavior and professional skills leads to a more sustainable and resilient society. Moreover, safety is considered a nurtured culture, meaning that it requires the work and efforts to be rooted in the minds and hearts of young children. Such behavior can and will reflect their security, safety and peace. 

Hence, the role of civil protection and civil defense structures lies in developing awareness and educational pillars that elucidate the functions of civil protection actors, their interventions, while clarifying the extent of the risks they take for the safety of the human lives, especially the children ones. Furthermore, we should develop permanent prevention programs to raise the level of overall awareness and reduce the level of casualties and victims among children. 

With all that said, the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) will be engaging in direct dialogues with its experts to create such programs with the aim of instilling the safety and security principles into children by means of activities, which attract both their attention and desire.

Given the exacerbating rhythm of natural disasters, wars and conflict situations, we expect that actors of civil defense are able to adapt to constantly changing and contradictory realities, especially when we keep in mind the globalized and technologically modernized world we live in.

As children's safety translates the continuity of life, I call upon my colleagues of national civil protection, civil defense, civil safety and emergency management structures to launch and continue their work with educational and cultural authorities to raise awareness among children in order to reduce risks of all kinds and causes.

Finally, on this auspicious occasion, I would be remiss if I did not single out the considerable role and the sacrifices made by all men and women of civil protection worldwide to protect the life and property of peace-loving citizens. On the eve of the World Civil Defense Day, I cannot also fail to recall the victims of duty of all officers, personnel and employees of civil protection and civil defense, without whom we have not reached this level of security, safety and peace. I wish to pay tribute to their contributions made and wish solace and speedy recovery to the injured ones.