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Lebanon embarks on regional first with disaster risk plan

GENEVA, 21 August 2013 - Lebanon is seeking to become the first country in the Arab region to adopt an overarching National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management that balances corrective, prospective and compensatory action. The building of political will and leadership, local collaboration, and regional and international partnerships is underpinning the effort despite significant ongoing challenges.
21 Aug 2013 News briefs

Island states plot safe course to Samoa

Small Island Developing States will this week seek to plot a course to a safer and more resilient future as part of their preparations for a major conference next year. The Inter-regional preparatory meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which opens today in Bridgetown, Barbados, brings together nations from the three SIDS regions – Caribbean, Pacific and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean South China Seas (AIMS) – to forge the way forward.
26 Aug 2013 News briefs

Sirens sound yet deaf people left standing

Lydia Callis became an unlikely star of Superstorm Sandy as the sign-language interpreter during New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s televised press conferences on the storm. Time magazine reported in October 2012: “During Bloomberg’s televised press conferences on the storm — delivered in his standard business-like fashion — Callis translated his words with enthusiasm and passion. In fact, her presence at press conferences has provided New Yorkers with what New York magazine described as ‘a legitimate reason to smile’.”
29 Aug 2013 News briefs

UNISDR Champion tackles land degradation in the Philippines

UNISDR Champion, Senator Loren Legarda, today announced she is proposing new legislation to tackle the problem of land degradation in the Philippines which is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
30 Aug 2013 News briefs

Disability survey: 'Take my wisdom, not my dignity'

Double amputee Firoz Ali Alizada believes that people living with disabilities are the biggest untapped resource for disaster planners around the world. The 31-year-old uses the example of his home country Afghanistan where people living with disabilities remain on the margins of decision making despite providing such a compelling example of day to day resilience.
3 Sep 2013 News briefs

‘I've managed disasters and not fell in a screaming heap’

Stuart Mawbey is an emergency service volunteer worker and manager as well as a person living with disabilities. He has spent the last 15 years assisting in emergencies in the Australian States of South Australia and New South Wales. Here he reflects on the immense personal satisfaction he derives from his volunteerism as well as the ongoing challenges he faces as a person living with disabilities. As a volunteer with the State Emergency Service (SES) our primary role is to assist the community with floods and storms, however I have also participated in remote area search and rescue, forensic searches, bushfire assistance, traffic control and safety for community events.
6 Sep 2013 News briefs

World Heritage city moves to secure its future

The UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Dubrovnik, globally celebrated for its rich past and environmental beauty, is taking steps to ensure its future is safeguarded from the threat of disaster. The city, which has been an active member of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) “Making City Resilient” campaign is taking a series of measures to strengthen resilience at the local level.
12 Sep 2013 News briefs

Disability survey: ‘We can face any challenge with courage’

GENEVA, 12 September 2013 – “It was my mother’s earnest wish to see me living an independent daily life,” says Shazma, a 15-year-old living with disabilities in her home village of Chalyar, in Pakistan’s Swat district. “But because of my old, regular wheelchair and discrimination in my society I never found confidence in myself to deal with the challenges I was facing.” However, thanks to her own determination and local support from Handicap International’s inclusive disaster risk reduction programme, Shazma has overcome many of the physical and attitudinal barriers that have challenged her throughout her young life.
12 Sep 2013 News briefs

More disasters but reduced losses in Europe

European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva this week told European parliamentarians that significant progress has been made in reducing disaster impacts across Europe over the last ten years of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the global agreement monitored by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
18 Sep 2013 News briefs

OECD survey finds Hyogo Framework boosted donor funding for disaster risk reduction

19 September 2013, GENEVA – The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today welcomed the results of a new OECD survey of eleven donors which finds that “all respondents reported that their DRR funding has either slightly, or significantly, increased since the launch of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) in 2005.” The Hyogo Framework for Action was adopted by all UN member States following the Indian Ocean tsunami as an action plan for reducing mortality and economic losses from disasters. It expires in 2015 when it will be replaced by a new global framework to be agreed at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March, 2015, in Japan.
19 Sep 2013 Press release

People with disabilities: a power for change not a burden

BANGKOK, 20 September 2013 – Chaiyaphon Phupharat knows what he is talking about when he speaks about disability and how people living with disabilities are more vulnerable when disasters happen. In 1995, when he was 33 years old, Mr Chaiyaphon was involved in a road accident and has been in a wheelchair since. The incident prompted him to join the Council of Persons with Disabilities in Thailand and he has since become the organisation’s director.
20 Sep 2013 News briefs

Donors back DRR investment tracking

Donor governments have signalled the need to better capture investments in disaster risk reduction to strengthen evidence of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
23 Sep 2013 News briefs

Norway gets ready for more extreme weather events

Norway today declared it is taking stronger measures on land use and building regulations as recommended in the global agreement, the Hyogo Framework for Action, to combat the frequency of extreme weather events.
23 Sep 2013 News briefs

Tragedy brings Oslo into UNISDR's Cities Campaign

The Mayor of Oslo, Mr. Fabian Stang, last night announced that the Norwegian capital has joined UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient Campaign and linked it to the tragic events of July 2011 when 77 people were murdered in bombings and a mass shooting.
24 Sep 2013 News briefs

Old Oslo airport becomes HFA showcase

An innovative Norwegian development is successfully addressing the most challenging priorities of the Hyogo Framework for Action: reducing underlying factors that drive urban disaster risk.
25 Sep 2013 News briefs

Local and regional leaders meet in Rabat to discuss 21st century agenda for Cities

With less than ten days left for the 2nd World Summit of Local and regional Leaders and the 4th United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Congress, the city of Rabat is preparing to host from 1-4 October 2013 one of the biggest assemblies of local and regional elected representatives from across the world.
25 Sep 2013 News briefs

Disaster risk forum honours champion of local action

A champion of local action to reduce disaster risk was this week honoured for his years of commitment in support of building safer and more resilient communities worldwide. The European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction presented Dr Ilan Kelman with the Damir Čemerin Award for Local Change for his work to link disaster risk reduction with climate change adaptation.
26 Sep 2013 News briefs

Let’s go beyond the death toll in disaster data collection

UNISDR Chief, Margareta Wahlström, made a special plea this week for improved data collection in disaster situations in order to provide a better insight into disability-related injuries. In parallel with high-level proceedings at the United Nations General Assembly, leading disability and disaster risk reduction advocates came together in New York to share lessons from disasters past.
27 Sep 2013 News briefs

Climate change will lead to dramatic escalation of disasters and economic losses says UNISDR

Based on current disaster trends and economic values, the world is looking at a minimum cost in the region of 25 trillion dollars in disaster losses for the 21st century if there is no concerted response to climate change, one which puts the emphasis on practical measures to reduce disaster risk and exposure to future extreme events. Margareta Wahlström, the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “The robust science behind the latest Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report translates into a world of catastrophic losses unless there are wholesale changes in how we allocate resources to prepare for extreme weather events. We are looking at losses the equivalent of one-third of annual global GDP. Clearly this is neither sustainable nor acceptable.
30 Sep 2013 Press release

Finland set to launch HFA peer review

Finland is set to follow in the footsteps of the UK this week and launch a peer review of its national implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global agreement on disaster risk reduction. The 4th European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) heard that Finland is aiming for the same impact as the UK’s peer review – the world’s first – which served as a catalyst for high-level engagement and reflection. As Finland prepared for its review, which gets underway on 5 October, EFDRR members called for a better understanding of advances in governance and accountability of disaster management. They agreed to consolidate Europe’s learning in this regard.
1 Oct 2013 News briefs

Desert Oasis Towns May Disappear

The mayor of an isolated oasis town yesterday warned that these 'desert islands of humanity' may disappear as a result of climate change unless drastic action is taken.
3 Oct 2013 News briefs

African universities reach out to local disaster managers

A leading academic has called on universities to engage more with vulnerable communities and to empower local disaster managers in their efforts to address various daunting challenges.
3 Oct 2013 News briefs

Cities key to mitigating flood risk

Increased urban flooding poses a direct threat to the wellbeing of several metropolitan areas unless cities became more inclusive in their approaches to reduce disaster risk, the world’s biggest congress of local leaders was told Last year 116 million people around the world were affected by floods and many millions were forced to flee their homes. The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, told participants at the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress that “inclusive cities are resilient cities”.
4 Oct 2013 News briefs

Call for post-2015 urban development goal

The World’s biggest forum of local leaders has called for sustainable urban development to be integral to the post-2015 development agenda. The Rabat Declaration at the conclusion of the Fourth United Cities and Local Governments Congress stated: “The new (post-2015) agenda should include specific goals for Sustainable Urban Development.” The Declaration also emphasized the importance of inclusion and a local focus. “The right to the city, inclusion, equality, access to essential services, decent work, adequate housing, culture, and a balanced environment are essential elements in the sustainable future for all.
7 Oct 2013 News briefs

74 parliaments, one message: Reduce disaster risk

Legislators from 74 parliaments around the world yesterday agreed that building safer and more resilient communities requires a paradigm shift towards a “disaster risk-sensitive development model”. In a debate entitled “Towards risk-resilient development: Taking into account demographic trends and natural constraints” the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 129th Assembly’s moved a step closer to adopting a resolution on the issue at its Spring 2014 assembly. One of the most striking interventions came from Chilean National Congress Deputy Dr Fernando Meza Moncada who described how, as a 14-year-old in 1960, he witnessed the most powerful earthquake in recorded history as it “swallowed houses whole killing hundreds of people”.
8 Oct 2013 News briefs

IPU forum focuses on disability

On the eve of the release of a major survey on disability and disasters a leading MP today urged people living with disabilities to follow his example and be more active in political life and decision-making roles. Mr Mirko Tomassoni, a member of the San Marino parliament, said people living with disabilities should embrace the ‘nothing about us without us’ mantra and challenge physical, institutional and attitudinal barriers that prevent inclusive disaster management planning. The MP said the wider issues in society that people living with disabilities faced were also relevant in times of disaster.
9 Oct 2013 News briefs

UN global survey explains why so many people living with disabilities die in disasters

The results of the first-ever UN global survey of persons living with disabilities on how they cope with disasters, illustrates why they die, or are injured, in disproportionate numbers in disasters. An estimated 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability. Whether in multi-hazard prone United States of America or Bangladesh, earthquake-prone Italy or flood-prone Thailand, people living with disabilities across the world say they are rarely consulted about their needs and only 20% could evacuate immediately without difficulty in the event of a sudden disaster event, the remainder could only do so with a degree of difficulty and 6% would not be able to do so at all. If given sufficient time, the percentage of those who could evacuate with no difficulty rises from 20% to 38% but 58% feel they would still have either some, or a lot of, difficulty while 4% would still not be able to evacuate.
10 Oct 2013 Press release

Disasters lead to new Europe housing strategy

A meeting of ministers and heads of agencies for housing, urban development and land administration from 55 countries in Geneva this week adopted a new Strategy for Sustainable Housing which will boost implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the current global agreement for reducing disaster risk, across wider Europe. The Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Land Management for the region covered by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recognized that “Natural as well as human-generated disasters, including those created by a changing climate, have resulted in large-scale damage to housing across the ECE region and present serious challenges for governments.” The Strategy calls for “common efforts by member States to develop frameworks for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. This includes emergency preparedness, contingency planning and risk-prevention measures through building safer houses in safer places and locating hazardous industry and other activities at safe distances from housing.”
11 Oct 2013 News briefs

Child safety tops South East Europe forum agenda

Budva, Montenegro – Children and their safety was top of the agenda at a regional cooperation forum focused on providing more secure environments for young people.
11 Oct 2013 News briefs

DRR champion launches national Resilience Award

Philippines Senator Loren Legarda marked the 2013 International Day for Disaster Reduction with the launch of a national Resilience Award to inspire local leadership to build safer communities. The United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation unveiled the initiative on the same weekend in which Typhoon Nari left at least 13 people dead in the northern provinces of the Philippines; a sobering reminder of the urgent need to strengthen resilience in this highly-hazard prone country. At least 750,000 people were affected before the typhoon made its way out into the South China Sea towards China and Viet Nam.
14 Oct 2013 News briefs
The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction The United Nations General Assembly requested UNISDR to facilitate the development of a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
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