Honorable civil defence professionals and experts,

On the eve of the celebration of World Civil Defence Day 2021, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, civil defence professional and experts around the world.

In 2021, the International Civil Defence Organization (ICDO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, will celebrate its 90th anniversary, making it one of the oldest international organizations in the world. 

Over its long history, the ICDO has evolved from the Association des Lieux de Geneve, founded in 1931 by the French surgeon, General Georges Saint-Paul, to promote the creation of safety zones to protect vulnerable populations and historic monuments in times of war; to become, on March 1, 1972, an intergovernmental organization. The ICDO, with the well-being of States at its core, is dedicated to the protection of civilian populations, property and the environment against disasters of natural or man-made origin. 

Fortunately, the missions of the ICDO are well implemented by you, who are responsible for them, each at a given level. 

I take the opportunity of this celebration to express to you the thanks of the Permanent Secretariat for your courage and your determination to be at all times ready to face difficult situations in order to preserve or save lives, property and / or the environment. Courage and determination are qualities that will be needed even more in order to face the complex crisis that the global community planet has been going through since the end of 2019, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID19). 

Indeed, since January 30, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared COVID 19, a global pandemic, the virus has spread rapidly across the world and more than 100 million people in more than 200 countries. have been infected to date. In order to control and even stop the spread of the virus, many countries have implemented strict measures including containments and border closures to limit the movement of people. This has caused major disruption to the sector of the economy at all levels. As a result, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sharply revised downwards its forecasts for global growth. Anything that will also have an impact on the capacity of States to respond to risks and disasters. We will then have to redouble our efforts to overcome these challenges. 

Appropriately, the theme of this year's World Day celebration is: "STRONG CIVIL PROTECTION TO PRESERVE THE NATIONAL ECONOMY". 

Knowing that in many cases budget planning is modeled on ordinary situations, it is imperative to rethink national strategies by taking into account exceptional situations from the perspective of civil protection for resilient communities. 

On the occasion of this Day, I would like to reaffirm the continuous commitment of the International Civil Defence Organization to always listen to all Member States or Observers as well as all other stakeholders, for an optimal strengthening collective capacities to respond to emergencies caused by nature or man. 

Together we are stronger. 

Together, we will overcome all challenges. 

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