• Kyodo

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A new action plan to be adopted next month at the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai may contain numerical targets aimed at reducing the number of victims and economic loss during disasters, a U.N. special representative on disasters said.

Margareta Wahlstrom, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said at a news conference Monday in Sendai that setting such targets is being studied partly due to the severity of the economic damage caused by disasters.

The 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted at the previous U.N. conference held in 2005 in Kobe, provided guidelines for countries to work toward mitigating the effects of disasters but did not contain numerical target. It also did not oblige countries to take certain disaster prevention measures.

Wahlstrom visited Sendai, one of the cities hit hard by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, this week.

At the five-day conference beginning March 14, delegates are expected to adopt a new framework for reducing disaster risks to replace the Hyogo action plan.