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Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction on the 11 March Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) expresses its profound regret at the loss of life and the immense damage inflicted upon the people of Japan on 11 March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami struck the north-eastern coast of the country. We take this opportunity to offer our deepest condolences to all who have lost family members and homes as well as those who still await information about missing relatives and friends.
18 Mar 2011 Statements & speeches

Top UN officials speak about the importance of disaster risk reduction following a massive earthquake off Japan's coast

Speaking to UN Radio, two of the UN's top officials on disaster reduction weigh in on the devastation caused by an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale that struck northeastern Japan on Friday and triggered a tsunami that engulfed coastal towns and cities along Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures. In the interviews, they highlighted the importance of disaster risk reduction and Japan's disaster preparedness.
14 Mar 2011 News briefs

Response to the UK DFID Multilateral Aid Review of UNISDR

UNISDR welcomes the report of the Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) as an innovative and critical contribution to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of international cooperation frameworks for the delivery of aid. The analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the multilateral system is very interesting and reiterates familiar issues, particularly on the perceived weaknesses; some of which require solutions that are not always possible for organizations in isolation.
10 Mar 2011 News briefs

In times of dwindling resources, disaster risk reduction is an easy win

A new report from the United Nations confirms what governments already hear but are slow to believe: that disciplined public sector involvement in “disaster risk reduction” can significantly reduce setbacks brought by hundreds of droughts, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and other hazards that befall the world each year, on average.
9 Mar 2011 Press release

Cities in Italy to join the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign, just as UNISDR launches Review of the Hyogo Framework for Action

In an official ceremony today, the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, and the Mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, officially marked their cities’ participation in the United Nations World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient – My City is Getting Ready!” which involves over 600 cities worldwide. The Mayor of Milan, too, has officially declared her willingness to join the campaign.
9 Mar 2011 Press release

To build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters, we need equal and active participation of men and women in disaster risk reduction.

Disasters affect men and women differently, and so we will continue to lobby for gender-sensitive vulnerability, risk and capacity assessments. Studies show that women’s vulnerabilities during and after disasters is linked to their role and status in society, making women and children 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster.
8 Mar 2011 News briefs

Lami signs up to the World Disaster Reduction Campaign: Making the Pacific Resilient – My community is getting ready!

In a signing ceremony held in Lami on 8th March 2011, Special Administrator Suva/Lami Mr. Chandu Umaria signed Lami’s Certificate of Commitment to Disaster Resilience for the 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient“. Lami is the first Pacific island city to join the global campaign coordinated by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
8 Mar 2011 Press release

Viet Nam’s five largest cities give disaster risk reduction a boost, as entire nation solidifies disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation agenda

The five largest cities and most important economic centers of Viet Nam pledged to make cities safer against disasters at the second National Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai today. The Forum set a firm plan to establish the National Platform and launched the World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient- My City is Getting Ready.”
4 Mar 2011 Press release

UNISDR statement on DFID Multilateral Aid Review

The secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has taken note of the Multilateral Aid Review issued by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and is preparing a formal response based on a thorough review of the report.
3 Mar 2011 News briefs

Local governments in Africa meet to find ways to tackle climate adaptation and urban resilience

Going on now in Africa, the Congress dubbed on Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2011 kicked off on Monday a gathering of high-level speakers to discuss urban sustainability. The congress is coordinated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the city of Cape Town, and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) among other partners. The five day congress will focus, among other things, on local action for climate adaptation and resilience in the context of Africa’s cities. The Congress will serve as preparation for Africa’s local and sub-national authorities and their partners for participation in the South African-hosted climate change summit, 2012.
2 Mar 2011 News briefs

Building codes saves lives – main message on anniversary of Chile earthquake and lesson learned from NZ

Strict building codes in Chile, the legacy of a devastating 9.5 magnitude earthquake in 1960, continue to play a large part in protecting people even when an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck 50 near Concepcion on 27 February 2010, says UNISDR. “In earthquake zones, three factors affect our degree of risk: changes to our natural environment, the quality of the built environment around us, and whether awareness and knowledge is widespread enough for us to modify our behaviour in response to these factors,” said Margareta Wahlström, the United Nations' top disaster risk reduction official. “The key to surviving high magnitude quakes is to live and work in seismically safe buildings, while being aware of how nature around us can also change.”
28 Feb 2011 News briefs

Top bodies for disaster risk reduction and climate change in Philippines are “One Against Risk”

On 28 February, the Philippines Climate Change Commission, the country's top body for climate change, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the country’s top body for disaster risk reduction and management, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) to jointly improve community resilience in the Philippines in the face of the looming problems presented by climate change.
28 Feb 2011 News briefs

Reducing vulnerability to natural hazards must become top international priority says General Assembly President

Addressing journalists at the Palais des Nations on 28 February, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss said that reducing vulnerability to natural hazards must be a top priority of the international community. “Reducing disaster risks is essential if we are to consolidate progress made in development and poverty reduction,” he said, briefing correspondents on the outcome of the General Assembly Thematic Debate on disaster risk reduction, held on 9 February at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
28 Feb 2011 News briefs

Pakistan cannot risk its future, lives of people, by being ill-prepared, says top UN disaster official, as country begins rebuilding flood-affected areas

Addressing journalists in Islamabad on 22 February, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, stressed the importance of building resilience to future floods, just as Pakistan embarks on the reconstruction of flood-affected areas following the devastating floods of July 2010.
22 Feb 2011 Press release

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

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. These three major Malaysian cities were chosen for their ability to meet and inspire others around the world to take up ten essential actions that reduce disaster risk.
19 Feb 2011 Press release

Philippines reconfirms commitment to safe schools, hospitals

In the wake of recent floods and landslides in the Philippines, which have affected some 600,000 people, the Philippine Government today reconfirmed their commitment to make schools and hospitals in the country’s cities disaster resilient. The commitment, led by the Secretary of Education and Health, follows the pledge by the previous Government in 2009 to make more than 60,000 schools and health facilities in the Philippines safer from disasters. Both Departments of Education and Health committed to inspect all schools and hospitals for disaster vulnerability and to assist in identifying interventions to make them safer within the 2012 government budget.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

Arab region takes steps to reduce disaster risk, endorses Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction

Heads of States welcomed and endorsed the "Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020" in recognition of the increasing risk and frequency of disasters that challenge the development process in the region during the 2nd Summit for Socio Economic Development of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE) held in Egypt in January 2011.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

AU Executive Council endorses report of the 2nd African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The African Union (AU) Executive Council has endorsed the report of the second African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). This was done at the 16th African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 25-31 January. The report includes the extended Programme of Action for the implementation of the Africa Strategy for DRR (2006-2015) and the recommendations of the second African Ministerial Declaration on DRR held in Nairobi in April 2010.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

GA debate stresses need to invest in planning, prevention

Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly said DRR was crucial for protecting progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for achieving sustainable development, at the GA Thematic Debate on DRR on 9 February. Throughout the day, he and other participants called for the enhancement of data collection and the scaling-up of investments in education, better urban planning, the sharing of information and technology, and the raising of awareness, especially to ensure that specific disasters and the needs of victims, remained high on the international agenda long after they had dropped from the news headlines.
9 Feb 2011 News briefs

UN General Assembly to hold first-ever debate on disaster risk reduction

Building on last year’s UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly will convene on Wednesday its first thematic debate on disaster risk reduction to encourage governments to take action and invest more in reducing risk and exposure to disasters. The one-day UN debate on disaster risk reduction is being organized under the auspices of the office of UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, with support from UNISDR.
8 Feb 2011 News briefs

The province of Tyrol, Austria, and all its 279 municipalities join the Making Cities Resilient campaign

The province of Tyrol and all its 279 municipalities joined the Making Cities Resilient campaign, with the City of Lienz taking the lead. Tyrol follows an innovative approach to disaster risk reduction: Between 2010 and 2013, each municipality will hold expert-led workshops in order to prepare a comprehensive risk portfolio following a standardized methodology. Tyrol will share its extensive disaster risk reduction knowledge in the context of the campaign.
7 Feb 2011 News briefs

Surviving Yasi due to planning and not ‘miracle’, says top UN disaster official

North-eastern Australia suffered no casualties after Cyclone Yasi, which UNISDR says was due to a high level of risk awareness and planning, rather than a “miracle,” as some call it. Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the Australian mainland at midnight local time on Wednesday, but despite its category-5 strength, there were no reports of serious injuries or fatalities, according to a situation update from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
4 Feb 2011 Press release

Strengthening climate change adaptation through effective disaster risk reduction

This briefing note highlights that climate change adaptation relies on the reduction and management of climate-related disaster risks and why both need to become central to development planning and investment. It incorporates evidence that illustrates how climate risks are constructed and which risks can be reduced cost effectively.
2 Feb 2011 News briefs

Killer year caps deadly decade - reducing disaster impact is "critical" says top UN disaster official

Geneva – Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people in 2010, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The top two most lethal disasters -- the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 222,500 people, as well as the Russian heat wave in summer, which caused about 56,000 fatalities made 2010 the deadliest years in at least two decades.
24 Jan 2011 Press release

Killer year caps deadly decade - reducing disaster impact is "critical" says top UN disaster official

24 Jan 2011 Press release

Over one hundred Municipal Leaders in Orissa pledge to strengthen environmental sustainability

Some 102 Municipal leaders in the State of Orissa battling with recurrent cyclones, floods, droughts and heat waves agreed today to make their cities more resilient to multiple hazards, by signing up to the UNISDR “Making Cities Resilient” campaign. Orissa, despite being one of the poorest states in India, is slowly becoming the hub for industries, IT, education and medical infrastructure.
21 Jan 2011 Press release

Recruitment to the Pool of DRR Experts

UNICEF MENARO is currently researching and developing a pilot mechanism for securing disaster risk reduction expertise for UNICEF projects and programmes. The UNICEF Pool of DRR Experts is designed to initially support UNICEF's DRR initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Should the pilot be successful, UNICEF hopes that such a pool of talent is of value to all DRR actors, not only in MENA but ultimately at the global scale.
18 Jan 2011 News briefs

Governments need to create options for people, says UN’s top disaster official

In an interview with BBC World News, Margareta Wahlstrom, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, stressed the importance of urban planning and creating safe living environments following the flooding and landslides that have hit Australia and Brazil.
17 Jan 2011 News briefs

Campaign cities and partners urged to nominate candidates for the UN-Sasakawa award

In a message from Helena Molin Valdes, Deputy Director of UNISDR, all campaign cities and partners are encouraged to submit a nomination for the UN-Sasakawa award to highlight good practice and achievements against as many of the "ten essentials" for making cities resilient as possible.
17 Jan 2011 News briefs

Cebu leads in Making Local Government Units Resilient to Disasters

Cebu City, Philippines – 39 municipalities of Cebu Province, Philippines, today pledged to make their local government units safer from disasters, by joining the United Nations disaster reduction campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City Is Getting Ready!” while gathered at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall, N. Escario St. Capitol Site, Cebu City.
13 Jan 2011 Press release
Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction take place from Africa to the Pacific Regional Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction take place from Africa to the Pacific.
  • Where We Work Our regional office is in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Where We Work Our regional office is in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Where We Work Our regional office is in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Where We Work Our regional office is in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Where We Work Our regional office is in Panama City, Panama.

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