The Secretary-General-
 Message on the International  Day for Disaster Reduction
 Information Kit
Press release
Risk Mapping
 Contest for Children
 Risk Mapping Contest
 for Local Communities
 Winners of Risk Mapping
Countering Disaster, Targeting Vulnerability
2001 United Nations World Disaster Reduction Campaign
Information Kit
Spanish - French - Arabic - Chinese

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure that I present to you, in my new function as Director of the UN Interagency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR), the information kit of the 2001 World Disaster Reduction Campaign on “Countering Disasters; Targeting Vulnerability”, with its three sub-themes, namely “The Role of Science and Technology in Disaster Reduction”, “Building Disaster Resistant Infrastructures”, and “ Mobilizing Local Communities in Reducing Disasters”.

The information available in this kit is intended to help you understand the concept of disaster reduction and related issues used in our jargon, and to learn about the practical aspects of disaster reduction through concrete examples of what people do at the local, national, regional and international level to build a safer world. The negative impact of natural disasters and related environmental and technological disasters is increasing, mainly due to a correlation of rapid population growth and poverty in disaster prone areas.

The field of disaster reduction is ever-growing, multi-sectoral and cross-cutting. It is not only the business of disaster and development specialists, it goes beyond this, and touches upon new fields every day, aiming at sustainable development. The ISDR belongs to all, present and future stakeholders, and the reaching of its goals can only succeed through concerted action. Therefore, the role of the ISDR Secretariat is to promote and support the widest array of efforts made in disaster reduction, to link up people and entities who can benefit from shared experiences and facilitate public commitment globally as well as improved scientific knowledge.

What follows my introductory note is a set of definitions of key terms, together with a series of questions and answers related to disaster reduction. We have also added the guidelines for two risk mapping contests, for children and local communities, which are ongoing, and which were first published in the campaign announcement earlier this year.

On behalf of the ISDR Secretariat, I wish to express my most sincere gratitude to the contributors to the current kit who all gave their valuable time to write their contributions. Due to size constraints, we have not been able to include all the material in the current kit. The ISDR Secretariat will, however, publicize the received material through other means, either through the monthly ISDR Highlights or through the website (www.unisdr.org) for example. Some of the described cases also fit in more than one category, as disaster reduction is an allencompassing issue. As the work progressed on the current information kit, we rapidly realized that we would never cover all the enthusiastic endeavors currently undertaken to reduce the negative impact of natural disasters worldwide. Please therefore look at this kit as a showcase of some practical aspects in disaster reduction worldwide. The ISDR Secretariat is embarking on a global review of disaster reduction initiatives worldwide and expects to publish a report by early 2002.

From the first two articles in this information kit (Natural Disasters: Counting Costs and Counting People-Warning: Global Warming Ahead, Climate Change and Disasters) we hope to show current trends related to natural disasters today. Each sub-theme then has its own (color-coded) section in the kit, in which you will find a general introductory section on the main issues at stake, followed by a series of examples of disaster reduction in practice, as related to the specific sub-theme.

Just as the ISDR Secretariat is there to support you, we will need your help on the best ways to achieve the goals which concern us all. Please contact us with feedback or more information on any issue of your interest.

I wish you a pleasant and informative read.

Sálvano Briceño
UN/ISDR Secretariat

(456Kb) Countering Disasters, Targeting Vulnerability
(181Kb) The Role of Science and Technology in Disaster Reduction
(253Kb) Building Disaster Resistant Infrastructures
(209Kb) Mobilizing Local Communities in Reducing Disasters