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Baroness Valerie Amos

Baroness Valerie Amos

Hosted by Emma Barnett

On Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October, Former Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations, Baroness Valier Amos spoke to Women’s Editor at The Telegraph, Emma Barnett at the latest series of Plan Talks.

When Emma probed Baroness Amos on the Syrian refugee crisis, she said, the “International community should be ashamed of Syria crisis response.”

Baroness Amos added: “It’s always difficult to look back, but I do feel insufficient attention was paid to really try to come up with a path that the Syrian people could have signed up to, and that would enable a move to a democratic government.”

She went on to tell an audience of 100 invited guests at London’s Carlton House Terrace: “I have a huge concern that much of this is now being seen through a security lens, not through the lens of what is happening to people on the ground.”

Baroness Amos became the first black woman to lead a university when she took the role of Director of SOAS, University of London, last month.

“It took me a long time to accept that I was seen as a ‘trailblazer’ just because I was the first of many things,” she told the audience.  “I just see myself as a person who works hard. As far as I’m concerned I’m just an ordinary person, I have likes and dislikes and I have a tough job.”

The Plan Talk was opened by Plan UK CEO Tanya Barron.

“Young people, and girls in particular, have all too often been left behind in a one size fits all disaster response,” she said. “As Baroness Amos has argued - girls, given the chance, can really be at the forefront of effective preparation and response to disasters.”

She added: “Plan is helping people with things like psychosocial support, education and support for adolescent girls in particular. And it’s a credit to Baroness Amos that she has brought so many of those issues to the UN way before many other people were talking about them.”

Find out how Plan UK is responding to and helping people across the world to prepare for disasters by watching the video below.

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Disasters: How Plan Responds

On International Day for Disaster Reduction we highlight the work we are doing to help people prepare for and recover from disasters around the world.