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‘Useful and used’ data key to building resilience

The future resilience of the planet rests upon shortening the distance between emerging scientific evidence and actionable policy. A High-Level Panel, titled ‘Perspectives on the Value of Earth Observations’, agreed on the importance of the “usability of information” in the International Strategy of Disaster Reduction and other global efforts to strengthen resilience. Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), said collaboration and coordination was crucial: “We need to join up the dots about what we know about how resources can be used and not be used in future. “The world really is heading terribly in the wrong direction. We need to bring science to decision making. And in such a complex world, we can no longer afford the luxury of taking very narrow, specific responses.
20 Jan 2014 News briefs

Typhoon Haiyan losses trigger major new proposal on catastrophe insurance for the Philippines

20 January 2014, GENEVA – The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has teamed up with the global insurance industry to propose a major new approach to catastrophe risk financing for the Philippines in advance of this year’s typhoon season as the country continues to deal with the economic fall-out of $13 billion in losses from Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda. The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, said today: “The Philippines is hit by over 20 typhoons every year. What is needed is a simple scheme which will provide valuable protection to people and municipalities before the next typhoon season. In order to be successful it will require mandatory take-up by local government units but it will make them masters of their own destiny when it comes to responding to relief and recovery needs in the wake of a major disaster event.” The catastrophe scheme developed by global insurance giants Willis Re and Munich Re will be presented tomorrow in Manila at a High Level Forum on Strengthening Disaster Risk Insurance in the Philippines. The Philippines Risk and Insurance Scheme for Municipalities (PRISM) is a fast track way of providing budgetary support in the aftermath of a major natural disaster. Rowan Douglas, CEO Capital, Science and Policy Practice, Willis Group, explained: “Contrary to traditional insurance the payment of claims is not based on actual losses but on a pre-agreed amount when a specific trigger is met. For example, insurance will be paid out in the event of rainfall exceeding a certain amount, or wind speed exceeding a certain threshold.” Mr. Douglas is a member of the UNISDR Private Sector Advisory Group. Ernst Rauch, head of the Corporate Climate Centre of Munich Re, said: “These parametric triggers are based on industry standards and can evolve as more information becomes available. Once one trigger has been exceeded a payment will be made through the scheme manager to the local government unit and this can be used for rescue, relief, recovery or re-building depending on needs assessments. It can become a key part of broader national catastrophe risk management programme. Cover can be adjusted to reward disaster risk reduction efforts undertaken by municipalities.” Economic losses in the Philippines are part of an upward global trend. According to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, economic losses from disasters are “out of control.”
20 Jan 2014 Press release

Pacific forges ahead on joint disaster-climate strategy

United Nations agencies have joined together to contribute towards the development a new Strategy for Disaster and Climate Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP). As a core partner of the Technical Working Group for the new Strategy along with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) hosted and engaged expert representatives from UNDP, UNICEF, WHO and UN Women amongst others, to join in an interactive engagement workshop on 20 January 2014. The workshop formed part of a series of ongoing stakeholder engagements to facilitate the development of a new strategy to succeed the current ‘Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action’ and ‘Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change’, both due to expire in 2015.
21 Jan 2014 News briefs

Russia's G8 Presidency to focus on disaster risk

The Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, today welcomed Russia’s declared intention of using its G8 Presidency to promote integrated disaster risk management and to focus the world’s major economies on cooperation in developing a new global agreement on disaster risk reduction to succeed the existing Hyogo Framework for Action which expires in March 2015. Ms. Wahlström said: “Russia’s G8 Presidency could be a major turning point in the struggle to gain political commitment to reducing exposure to disaster events worldwide and speeding up implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action. Economic losses from disasters are out of control and the timing is right for the G8 members to take concrete measures to mitigate climate change and to reduce the risk of major disaster events such as floods and earthquakes which disrupt the lives of over 200 million people every year.” At a meeting of the Gaidar Forum in Moscow last week, the Russian G8 Sherpa, Alexei Kvasov, said the core objectives of the Russian G8 Presidency will include global management of natural and man-made disaster risks along with global health security, the fights against drugs and global terrorism. He said the motto of Russia’s G8 Presidency is “Managing risks for sustainable growth in a secure world.” Ms. Wahlström said UNISDR and its partners look forward to contributing to the success of the Russian G8 Presidency and building on expressions of support at previous G8 Summits for implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
22 Jan 2014 Press release

Making Paris resilient to floods

The French capital, Paris, has been invited to join the “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction as a new OECD analysis reveals the extent of the city’s exposure to a repeat of a major flood disaster. The OECD Review on Flood Risk Management of the Seine River – commissioned by Etablissement Public Territorial de Bassin (EPTB) Seine Grands Lacs, with the Ministry of Ecology and Ile-de-France Regional Council – found that a repeat of the 1910 flood could affect up to five million residents and cause Euros 30 billion worth of damages. Speaking at the launch of the report, UNISDR Chief, Margareta Wahlström, said: “Making Paris resilient is an important strategic goal for France. Floods displace more people worldwide, create more unemployment and disrupt city life more than any other category of disaster.
28 Jan 2014 News briefs

Americas parliament lays down resilience law

Latin America has taken a step towards mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into national development policy instruments and poverty reduction strategies. The Latin American Parliament has adopted a protocol on disaster risk management that obliges its 23 member states to incorporate guiding principles of building resilience into existing or emerging legislation. The adoption of the protocol comes ahead of the 2014 Americas Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Ecuador, in May.
30 Jan 2014 News briefs

Senegal PM reiterates HFA commitment

The Prime Minister of Senegal has reiterated her country’s commitment to implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) during high level talks with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. Prime Minister Aminata Touré said that Senegal’s international commitments were consistent with domestic priorities under the country’s Economic and Social Development Plan. In the presence of nine of her key ministers, the Prime Minister told Special Representative Ms Margareta Wahlström that good governance and institutions were crucial to build resilience in the face of continued climate change.
31 Jan 2014 News briefs

Winter wild-fires: Norway’s new risk

Freakish winter wildfires in Norway have underlined the importance of adopting a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk management in an era of changing climate.
5 Feb 2014 News briefs

Venice Mayor highlights Cities Campaign at C40

Mayor Giorgio Orsoni of Venice, Italy – a UNISDR “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign Champion – emphasized the Cities Campaign in building resilient and adaptable cities during his speech today at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
5 Feb 2014 Press release

UNISDR welcomes Bloomberg appointment

The vital role of cities as engines of climate resilience has been recognised with the appointment of the former mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg, as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
6 Feb 2014 News briefs

Small islands lead by example, says UNISDR chief

Statement by Margareta Wahlström, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction on the launch of the International Year of Small Island Developing States
24 Feb 2014 Statements & speeches

All have stake in World Conference

For the third time in thirty years, Japan is preparing to host a World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
27 Feb 2014 News briefs

Science to save more lives

The Philippines today launched a nationwide “Science for Safer Communities” so that more lives are saved through better early warning and understanding of disaster risk.
3 Mar 2014 News briefs

Tacloban Mayor strives to transform city

The Mayor of the worst-hit city of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster believes the city’s future prosperity depends on “transformational development” that rebuilds communities and not just houses.
4 Mar 2014 News briefs

Philippines Leads in UN Disaster-Safe Schools Initiative

The Philippines today publically committed to be a role model for safe schools and deliver a strong message to the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 on the importance of protecting school children and students in their education environment.
4 Mar 2014 Press release

Yeb Saño Sees Hope in World DRR Conference

The Philippines Climate Change Commissioner, Yeb Saño, believes the post-2015 international framework for disaster risk reduction will grasp the opportunity to “think and act differently”.
6 Mar 2014 News briefs

Haiyan Mayors meet on resilience

An inclusive recovery effort in the aftermath of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is providing a global example of how to build community resilience ahead of next year’s World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
10 Mar 2014 News briefs

IBM and AECOM join UN Campaign to make cities resilient

GENEVA, 11 March 2014 – The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is working with IBM (NYSE: IBM), and global planning, design and engineering firm AECOM to measure cities’ resilience to disasters.
11 Mar 2014 Press release

Today Japan Remembers

Three years on, the pain has not diminished. Today, the whole of Japan is remembering the day of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The confirmed death toll stands at 15,884 with 2,633 missing and 267,000 people are living as evacuees.
11 Mar 2014 News briefs

Bangkok to host 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

Bangkok/Geneva, 13 March 2014 – Some 3,000 experts including government ministers from 50 Asian countries are to meet in Bangkok, to discuss the disaster-prone region’s final inputs into a new global agreement on disaster risk reduction to replace the existing Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA)...
13 Mar 2014 Press release

UNISDR supporter rehouses 1,000 families

A leading member of UNISDR’s global private sector partnership is rehousing 1,000 families badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan in new communities that are designed to have soul and safety in equal measure.
17 Mar 2014 News briefs

Korean boost for city resilience

A new global capacity building initiative to strengthen resilience of cities around the world was launched today.
18 Mar 2014 News briefs

IPU debates resolution on risk resilience

Parliamentarians from across the world are participating this week in a wide-ranging debate on disaster risk at the 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which is set to adopt a ground-breaking resolution on risk-resilient development tomorrow.
19 Mar 2014 News briefs

Tirana joins UNISDR Cities Campaign

This time two years ago half of Albania was covered in snow and the country appealed for international assistance. The country and the capital Tirana (pop. 418,000) also lives with the threats of earthquakes, floods, heat waves and drought.
20 Mar 2014 News briefs

IPU urges parliaments to take action on disaster risk

The 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union has concluded by urging its 164 member Parliaments to enhance their oversight role in reducing the impact and risk of disasters and “to take immediate action to review existing legislation related to disaster risk reduction.” The Assembly adopted a resolution on risk resilient development which stresses that “reducing disaster risk and protecting people’s lives are the legal responsibility of all public representatives.”
21 Mar 2014 Press release

Climate Change Tops Agenda for African Regional Platform on Disaster Risk

Experts from all over Africa, including government ministers, will meet in Abuja, Nigeria, 13-16 May 2014, to discuss the challenges that the warming continent is experiencing because of climate change and other risk drivers. Last year, 37 countries in the region experienced at least one major disaster event including droughts, floods and heat waves, affecting millions.
24 Mar 2014 Press release

Economic hub strives to meet resilience challenge

The Philippines’ city of Makati is striving for a comprehensive disaster risk management plan that strengthens the resilience of both multi-billion dollar businesses and migrant families struggling on a few dollars a day.
25 Mar 2014 News briefs

Korean ‘Disaster Summit’ hails HFA progress

Senior disaster management officials and experts from across North-East Asia today endorsed the Hyogo Framework for Action as a consistent and guiding force for national progress in disaster risk reduction.
26 Mar 2014 News briefs

Flood-prone Irish town’s ‘zero sandbag policy’

The last time a major flood threatened Ireland’s largest inland town, Clonmel Borough Council distributed 7,000 sandbags. Food packs and accommodation were prepared for evacuees. Traffic diversions were agreed. Vulnerable households were contacted by phone.
27 Mar 2014 News briefs

China, Korea, Japan work on disaster data

Disaster experts from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea today agreed to launch joint research aimed at enhancing the compatibility of disaster data and terminology across North-East Asia.
28 Mar 2014 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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