• .President Enrique Peña Nieto led the Regular Session of the National Council of Civil Protection and the ceremony for the presentation of the National Award for Civil Protection 2016.
  • "Mexico now has a sturdy, modern Civil Protection System, on a par with the best in the world”.
  • “Climate change is one of the biggest threats in the world that forces us to rethink the way we act, produce and consume; in other words, it forces us to change our habits,” he said.
  • Mexico's experience in handling adversity is well-known and recognized worldwide: UN.

As he led the Ordinary Session of the National Council of Civil Protection today, President Enrique Peña Nieto said that, “Just as unity is vital for coping with a natural emergency, it is also important for meeting any challenge that tests our country”.

“Challenges must always unite us and bring out the best in us and show the best version of us, he said.

The president said that, “On the basis of what we as a society and collectively have built in recent years, today we must continue to work together to continue building the Mexico of today and tomorrow, in which we wish to live today and leave to future generations”.

“I am confident that together we will continue working for the only cause that unites us all, without distinction, which is to ensure that Mexico does well,” he said.

At the event, held in the Adolfo López Mateos Hall of the official residence of Los Pinos, the president declared that Mexico has, “A robust, modern Civil Protection System, on a par with the best in the world”.

He said that, “Achieving this has not been easy. Mexicans have worked hard and have had to overcome difficult and painful experiences during the past three decades.

“The lesson is clear: Natural disasters and contingencies test societies and at the same time, let us see the more caring face of human beings,” he said.

President Peña Nieto  said that “The Civil Protection policy is now a state policy linking the efforts of the branches of government, states, municipalities, and indeed society as a whole. Today we have a robust, efficient legal framework for comprehensive risk management, as well as preventive tools for monitoring and early warning and the Mexican Seismic Network, while the National Risk Atlas is constantly being updated”.

He noted that, through joint responsibility, Mexicans, “Have been able to move from a reactive approach to one that is based more on prevention”.

He added that, “This will be significantly enhanced by the full implementation of the national emergency number 911, which finished being launched in the 32 states of the country yesterday. The national emergency number 911 has been implemented throughout the country to improve coordination of medical services, security and civil protection for the benefit of the population.

Presentation of National Civil Protection Award

The president also awarded the National Prize for Civil Protection, in the field of prevention, to Raúl Esquivel Carbajal, Director General of the Mexico City Fire Department; and in the field of assistance to the National Chamber of Radio and Television Industry (CIRT) and the Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State. He also conferred honorable mentions on Raúl Soto and Enrique González Torres Bazán.

President Peña Nieto told the director of Mexico City’s firefighters, known as Chief Vulcanus, “With nearly half a century of uninterrupted service, you have become a symbol of courage, bravery and heroism in the corporation. It is a well known fact that if he sees hesitation among his men, the commander is the first to run to the front to fight the fire. Your vocation and commitment go beyond the limits of duty. You should feel proud of your work”.

He also hailed the work of the CIRT and the Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State: "You are a voice that make it possible to prevent and be prepared for the most difficult moments, as in the case of Hurricane Patricia”.

He told Raul Soto Bazán and Enrique Gonzalez Torres: “Your determination and commitment to civil protection are an example to us all”.

PREVENTION IS THE KEY TO PROTECTING THE POPULATION FROM ANY RISK

The president noted that, "Prevention is the key to protecting the population from any risk, and we must work to ensure that the culture of prevention is present in most everyday situations experienced by Mexicans, especially the youngest ones”.

To this end, he said, “Significant measures are being implemented to strengthen civil protection and preventive security actions in educational establishments and Daycare Centers across the country. We are also working to ensure that civil protection protocols address the needs of the entire population, including people with disabilities”.

He said that these developments confirm Mexico as an international reference in the field of civil protection. So it is no coincidence, but a recognition of what Mexico has achieved in this area, that we will host the Global Platform for Disaster  Risk Reduction, an event organized and convened by the United Nations, which has decided that Mexico will host this event, to be held next May”.

This forum will make it possible to advance the prevention of disasters caused by the consequences of climate change.

“This is one of the greatest threats. Climate change is a phenomenon that is happening throughout the world, posing a threat to humanity, with devastating and irreparable effects for the planet. This forces us to rethink the way we act, produce and consume; in other words, it forces us, to change our habits,” he said.

He added that, “This is something we must be aware of: we live in an era that moves extremely quickly, changes happen in seconds, not days or years as in the past; Today, they happen in seconds, information flows very rapidly, and this is also causing us a cultural change that we need to adapt to, and with which we have to be consistent”.

He added that these changes, “Should also encourage us to review our patterns of behavior, habits created by the new paradigms and the new protocols imposed by this global society and this era of change, particularly in the natural environment”.

THE HANDLING OF THE ADVERSITIES MEXICO FACED LAST YEAR IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH OF THE NATIONAL CIVIL PROTECTION SYSTEM, THE CULTURE OF PREVENTION, AND THE UNITY OF MEXICAN SOCIETY: UN

Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the United Nations to Reduce Disaster Risk highlighted the, “High sense of responsibility we must all assume in response to the challenge posed by disasters for our lives, and the development and prosperity of our communities”.

He stressed that Mexico’s experience, “Is well-known and recognized worldwide. The handling of the adversities Mexico faced last year is proof of the strength of the National Civil Protection System and the culture of prevention and unity in Mexican society.

Robert Glasser congratulated the Mexican Army and the Armed Forces on 50 years of implementing the DN-III Plan assistance to the population in disaster, which he described as, “A role model and exemplary prevention.”

He announced that the Global Platform for Risk Reduction and Disaster will take place in Cancún, Quintana Roo, from May 22 to 26.

MEXICO ALWAYS BEEN CHARACTERIZED BY UNITY AND SOLIDARITY IN TIMES OF TROUBLE, AND TODAY SHOULD NOT BE THE EXCEPTION: CIRT

Edgar Pereda Gómez, Representative and President of the CIRT, who was awarded the National Prize for Civil Protection in the Field of Assistance, said that, “We are experiencing moments of uncertainty and challenges, but we have shown that with unity Mexico has established itself as a free and sovereign nation”.

He said that the radio and television program, “Has always distinguished itself by championing good causes, and regarded Mexico and Mexicans as the supreme value. Mexico has always been characterized by its unity and solidarity at times of difficulty and today should not be the exception”.

He said that Mexican radio and television are united, “In their project, which is Mexico. We are committed to ensuring that the country is once again a privileged space for constructive dialogue, resulting from the a debate that will create the harmonious dialogue our country needs to continue to build its greatness. "

He noted that radio and television in Mexico, "always acted in an institutional way in solving social conflicts and supported families at times of accidents and natural disasters. He told President Enrique Peña Nieto of his commitment,  “To use all the resources at our disposal to support any cause, for the good of Mexico and Mexicans”.

DISASTER PREVENTION AND RISK REDUCTION IS A TASK FOR EVERYONE:SEDATU

Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU) Rosario Robles said that disaster prevention and risk reduction is a task for everyone, "and we are working to ensure that through the federal government and local governments, we can build this vision of prevention  and action”.

Robles Berlanga said that, on instructions from President Peña Nieto, there is a new General Law on Human Settlements, and Urban Land Management, as well as a Guide to Urban Resilience. Both of these, she said, have a strong federalist vision, which assumes, “They are local governments and that their decisions over the territory are the ones that most affect people’s quality of life".

She said that both the Law and the Guide are aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly with the one stating the need to build cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

"Today, in Mexico, Mr. President, these are times of resilience,” said Secretary Robles. She explained that this concept been taken up by the international community, and that, “It is not only the ability to cope or react to a crisis or risk. It is, above all, the ability to grow, to improve, to emerge stronger after that risk”.

THE NATIONAL CIVIL PROTECTION SYSTEM IS BUILT EVERY DAY: LUIS FELIPE PUENTE ESPINOSA

Advances in civil protection are proof that the National System of Civil Protection is built every day, through the determined will of all its members. Even more important is the awareness that all Mexicans have acquired to protect their lives, said Luis Felipe Puente Espinosa, National Coordinator of Civil Protection of the Interior Secretariat.

As he submitted the report on the activities of the National Civil Protection System, in his capacity as Technical Secretary of the Board, Puente Espinosa said that it is time for national unity. Regardless of the natural or social phenomena that occur, it is only through unity that our nation will progress,” he said.

Luis Felipe Puente highlighted the development, in conjunction with the SEDATU, of the Guide to Urban Resilience, designed to build capacities in local administrations in order to generate better management in risk prevention and mitigation.

He said that the Manual of Organization and Operation of the National Civil Protection System, designed to lay the groundwork for the coordination, organization and operation of the National System with an integrated approach to risk management, has been updated.

“I thank each of the members of this Council for their valuable collaboration with their contributions to the updating of this important instrument that will undoubtedly strengthen the actions that must be implemented in the event of an emergency or disaster. Thanks to the participation of the three levels of government, 13,324 civil servants have been trained in Civil Protection,” he said.

The National Civil Protection Coordinator thanked the Secretariat of National Defense for its valuable support through the DN-III Plan , and the Navy Secretariat for its assistance through the Marine Plan, “Which always are willing to answer the call of our population”. He also thanked the Federal Police.

IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SOURCE OF PRIDE AND ENORMOUS SATISFACTION TO SERVE THE CITIZENS OF MEXICO CITY: RAÚL ESQUIVEL,  “CHIEF VULCANUS”

Raúl Esquivel Carbajal, Director General of the Mexico City Fire Department and winner of the National Prize for Civil Protection in the Field of Security, said that being a firefighter, “Is one of the most gratifying activities for human beings. This recognition therefore entails an enormous responsibility for me: It shows that the activities I have performed properly, and all the efforts I have made have not been in vain, which encourages me to continue working and progress”.

Chief Vulcanus said that during his working life, “It has always been a great source of pride and satisfaction to serve the citizens of this great city, Mexico City. He said that in his work, he has grown as a person and as a public servant, in addition to feeling the affection and solidarity of the Mexican people, which, he said, “Makes me feel more committed and very proud of being Mexican and being in charge of one of society’s best-loved corporations”.