Information available to the UN/ISDR secretariat shows that more than 55 countries participated actively in the World Campaign through awareness-raising or capacity building activities. Such a number is low compared to the 168 Governments which adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action at the January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR). Two factors may help understand this: (1) the WCDR was held a few weeks after the December 2004 Asian tsunami disaster and the heightened attention of the international community was conducive to the massive adoption of the Hyogo Framework (HFA); (2) some follow-up was needed to help implement the HFA and such a follow-up was easier in countries with established National Platforms for DRR.
The same is also true of countries that carried out school-oriented programmes, projects or initiatives independently of the IDDR, activities that have focused on raising awareness, building or developing capacity, making school buildings safer and seeking to mainstream DRR into school curricula. Their number is even lower that that of the IDDR participating countries. Information available shows that 22 countries have achieved highly visible successes in school-oriented DRR initiatives.
Also, in some cases, school-oriented DRR initiatives may be more relevant qualitatively than quantitatively. As another signal to be sent to the community at large is “if children can do it, then every one can do it” (every one meaning youths, adults, people with disabilities and elderly people), the highly visible success of a few school-oriented initiatives can sometimes have more impact than the less visible success of a larger number of initiatives.
2007 and Beyond
The World Campaign is on its second year and time has come to devise the way forward - based on the progress made. It is clear that that first year was mostly the year of pilot, pioneering or “foundation-laying” initiatives. Therefore, more concrete results are expected in this second year (2007), especially in the area of mainstreaming DRR into school curricula – as most of the ongoing activities are oriented toward this objective.
Nonetheless, the results achieved so far cannot be overlooked. They are “seeds” without which no harvest can be expected. As such, they need to be nurtured, reinforced and sustained not only during this second year but also beyond. As building a culture of prevention and disaster resilience in schools and through schools takes more than two years (the duration of the World Campaign), what matters first and foremost is commitment and initial actions to build such a culture, then perseverance.