Left to right: The President of the Canary Islands, Spain, Paulino Rivero, in discussion with UNISDR Head of Advocacy, Jerry Velasquez, at this week's conference on resilience at the Auditorium Adam Martin, Santa Cruz, Tenerife. (Photo: UNISDR)
GENEVA, 2 May 2014
– The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) today welcomed 64 municipalities spread across Spain’s volcanic chain of seven Canary Islands into the Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which now has 1,800 adherents around the world.
Jerry Velasquez, UNISDR Head of Advocacy, said: “The Canary Islands is a unique territory and is taking very strong action to build its resilience to disasters across a range of hazards which include tropical storms, floods, volcanic eruptions and the threat of fires. The political commitment of the islands’ executive to making disaster risk reduction an integral part of its governance model is an example to other island territories across the world.”
The Mayor of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Jose Manuel Bermudez, who initiated moves to join the Campaign, said: “I am happy to join UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign. I realized early on the need for leadership in this area and we have already taken a number of initiatives including participatory risk assessment and an early warning system.”
The President of the Canary Islands, Paulino Rivero, has also mooted the idea of a “resilience platform” for peripheral island territories around the world. The Canary Islands comprise Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
All 64 municipalities have signed a Declaration “Canarias Resiliente” which outlines their commitment to the “Ten Essentials” checklist of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign which includes putting in place the organization and coordination necessary to understand and reduce disaster risk with the participation of citizen groups and civil society.
Campaign implementation will be supported by Tenerife’s University of La Laguna which is now a Campaign Partner and is establishing a Department of Disaster Risk Reduction; the university has 30,000 students. The town of La Laguna which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site has also joined the Campaign.