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Farmers reap fruits of risk management

Fijian papaya farmers and exporters whose businesses were devastated by a 2012 cyclone are emerging from near bankruptcy with better protected livelihoods thanks to a stronger approach to disaster risk management. Last December’s Cyclone Evan decimated crops and slashed papaya exports by almost 90 per cent prompting an industry-wide rethink on how such a catastrophic experience could be minimized in future. As a result, beleaguered farmers and exporters are changing practices to address increasing climate extremes: production is spreading away from traditional crop heartlands; budgets increasingly factor in contingency for disasters; planting is on smaller blocks and a more regular basis; seed trees are selected to suit local conditions more; and bigger stocks of seed are in store to accelerate post-disaster recovery.
31 Oct 2013 News briefs

Disaster-proof development

OVER the last three decades, economic losses associated with natural disasters like floods, storm surges, hurricanes, and droughts have risen in lockstep with the steady climb in global temperatures. Data from a growing number of governments suggest that, so far this century, such losses have amounted to around $2.5 trillion. And, as the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns, the worst is yet to come. This escalation will, of course, be driven largely by the increasingly frequent and intense weather events associated with higher global temperatures. But inadequate preparation will exacerbate the problem considerably.
4 Nov 2013 Statements & speeches

Philippines plea: 'stop this climate madness'

The Philippines’ lead negotiator at the UN Climate Change Convention, whose home town was devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, told today’s conference opening that “disasters are never natural”. “We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters,” Mr Yeb Sano said in his address to the Convention's 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw. “It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and get battered by the onslaught of a monster storm. “Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social and environmental thresholds.
11 Nov 2013 News briefs

Pacific unites on development agenda

The small islands of the Pacific continue to lead the world in efforts to unite climate change and disaster risk reduction initiatives under one development agenda. “Sustainable development for us is a matter of national security,” said Mr David Sheppard, the Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), before a packed forum entitled ‘Meeting the sustainability challenge in the post-2015 era: A vision for resilient nations, large and small’. “We are working to protect people and the environment and that means we have to support livelihoods in a way that reinforces sustainable development and builds on the rich tradition of human settlement in the Pacific. There are many examples of Pacific solutions being tailored for Pacific problems.”
20 Nov 2013 News briefs

Cebu ready to build back better

The Philippines Province of Cebu prides itself on its zero casualty policy when it comes to disasters. As of yesterday, it had recorded just 73 of the 6,057 deaths so far attributed to Typhoon Haiyan despite the widespread damage and loss to housing, critical infrastructure and agriculture especially in northern Cebu where Haiyan made two of its six landfalls in the Philippines. Governor Hilario Davide III explained: “I would credit the low fatalities first to the people themselves and the local government units who heeded our advice and warnings to evacuate people from the areas that were most vulnerable to the typhoon.” Some estimates put the number of people who evacuated in Cebu as high as one million. The Governor also said that the earthquake which hit in October may have been a strange blessing in disguise as it gave people a sharp reminder of the threat posed by natural hazards.
16 Dec 2013 News briefs

Pooled knowledge key to food security

More than 100 of the world’s leading food system researchers, practitioners and policymakers heard today how dynamic new approaches are strengthening risk management and resilience. The forum, titled ‘Visualising the World’s Food Systems to Better Manage Risk and Resilience’, was told that ‘the new normal’ of fast-accelerating demand for food, energy and water in a changing climate and era of volatility had potentially devastating human and environmental consequences. As the global population grows from 7 billion to almost 9 billion by 2040, and the number of middle-class consumers increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially.
14 Jan 2014 News briefs

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

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

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

Recognising resilience innovation in the Pacific

To help mark the approaching 10th anniversary of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the global strategy for reducing disaster losses worldwide, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific today launched the inaugural Pacific Innovation and Leadership Award for Resilience (PILAR), a pioneering initiative in the region.
24 Apr 2014 News briefs

UN partners with private sector to map disaster risks for local communities

5 May 2014, ABU DHABI/GENEVA - New technologies that enable communities to visualize disaster risk and take action, are to be made available for cities worldwide as a result of collaboration between Esri and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
5 May 2014 Press release

Climate threat to Africa’s resilience

A disaster-resilient future for Africa will have to take account of the fact that it is the region of the world that will suffer the most from climate change and which struggles the most when it comes to capacity to manage present and future disaster risk, the 5th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction heard yesterday.
16 May 2014 News briefs

Africa unites on reducing disaster risk

Africa today became the first world region to make a comprehensive set of recommendations for a new UN global agreement on reducing disaster risk, recognizing that most disasters in Africa are water-related and that efforts are needed to prevent conflict as part of overall efforts to build resilience to disasters.
16 May 2014 Press release

Record floods challenge Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

The worst flooding since records began 120 years ago hit Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina over the weekend, when three months' worth of rain fell on the region, bursting river banks and revealing areas at risk that need to be addressed.
19 May 2014 News briefs

Pacific Platform opens with call for action

The Pacific region today challenged itself to grasp what was described as a ‘pivotal moment’ to shape disaster risk and climate change efforts for at least the next 20 years.
2 Jun 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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