Malaysia commits to maintain safety of cities, schools and hospitals in lead-up to 2011 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

 
Melaka, Malaysia, 19 February -- Three Malaysian cities -- Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Melaka -- were named Role Model Cities as part of the United Nations-led “Making Resilient Cities” campaign, which was launched during Malaysia’s National Disaster Awareness Day celebrations from 18 to 19 February.

Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Melaka were chosen for their ability to meet and inspire others around the world to take up ten essential actions that reduce disaster risk. These include: investing in and maintaining, critical infrastructure; regularly assessing the safety of schools and health facilities; and ensuring education programmes and training on disaster risk reduction; among others.

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Muhyiddin bin Mohd Yassin, launched the campaign at the Melaka International Trade Centre, which was attended by numerous Government leaders, city mayors, and members of academia and civil society.

“The people of Malaysia are aware of the increasing risks of disasters, especially due to global climate change,” said Mr. Muhyuddin. “We are dedicated to implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action [for disaster risk reduction] and we also look forward to see global progress in reducing disaster risks at the third Global Platform on Disaster Reduction in May.” The Hyogo Framework for Action is a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts, while the Platform is the foremost gathering of disaster risk reduction experts, held every two years in Geneva.

Around 600 participants attended a two-day workshop held in conjunction with National Disaster Awareness Day, where they adopted the “Melaka Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction in Malaysia.” Among other things, the Declaration calls on the government to form a “National Platform” for disaster risk reduction as a forum to share best practices within and beyond the country.

“Malaysia has been instrumental in promoting regional cooperation. Its rich experience in making cities safer, engaging in public-private partnerships and other areas means it has much to share with the wider world,” said Helena Molin Valdés, Deputy Director of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, who was at the launch.

Officials from neighbouring countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) attended parts of the workshop, where they and Malaysian counterparts discussed ideas on an ASEAN-wide handbook on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into Education, an initiative supported by ASEAN, UNISDR and the World Bank.

In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister -- who is also Education Minister -- and Minister of Health Liow Tiong Lai pledged the safety of 10,000 schools and 3,231 hospitals, including clinics. The pledge was registered by the One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals initiative, which encourages an individual, a family, a community, an organization, a government, a business or any other entity to make a pledge for a school or hospital to make them disaster resilient. Like the Making Cities Resilient campaign, it is part of UNISDR’s broader goal to raise awareness on how vulnerability can be better managed.

For more information on the “Ten Essentials,” please visit http://www.unisdr.org/campaign.
To learn about the One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Initiative, please visit http://www.safe-schools-hospitals.net/
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