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Disaster risk management in world Y20 summit declaration

Canterbury postgraduate includes disaster risk management into world Y20 summit declaration

July 22, 2014

A University of Canterbury postgraduate student has helped include disaster risk management and climate change problems in the final communique at the recently finished world Y20 summit in Sydney.

Henrietta McNeill has returned from the youth summit where she participated in negotiations about jobs and growth, global citizenship and sustainable development, alongside young leaders from 24 G20 countries and guest nations.

She managed to secure a resolution into the final communique through the skills she learnt in her degree relating to game theory and negotiating in international relations. She appreciated the simulations of negotiations that she had undertaken in her honours year with the university’s National Centre for Research on Europe.

“Getting a resolution into the sustainable development section of the communique was not easy, as there were 25 motions and only five could get through. The final vote occurred at 1am. Talk of through-the-night negotiations was a reality.

“The resolution focussed on disaster risk management much of which I learned from living in Christchurch and successfully studying at the University of Canterbury during and after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

“The other part of the resolution focussed on climate change displacement and refugees, particularly for small island developing states. My research looked small island developing states and this helped me with what I put into the resolution.

“Climate change will hit low-lying islands, such as Kiribati, which is likely to be underwater in 20 years. This affects not just New Zealand and the Pacific islands, but developed and developing countries all over the world which are vulnerable to climate change-disasters.

“I hope the G20 leaders listen to the points made at the summit as this group represents 1.25 billion young people around the world. The consequences of G20 decisions affect young people greatly now and in the future.”

McNeill says she will be contacting New Zealand leaders to promote the Y20 communique in New Zealand and international politics. She will prepare a document for the Prime Minister to take to the G20 Summit in November.


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