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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

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

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

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

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

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

Unified strategy provides ‘more bang for your buck’

World-leading efforts to unite climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into one overarching strategy will provide ‘more bang for your buck’ a senior Pacific development leader says. The Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, said future generations would judge today’s leaders on how bold their actions – not words – were in building safer and more resilient communities and countries.
15 Aug 2013 News briefs

People with disabilities ‘contributors to resilience, not victims’

Why are persons with disabilities so disproportionately affected by disasters? This was the important, if often overlooked, question presented to the largest international meeting on disability issues, at the United Nations last week. The answer, simply put, is because disaster prevention measures are designed and implemented in many parts of the world without including or taking into account persons with disabilities. Often it is the attitude of viewing such persons as victims or burdens that prevents their inclusion.
2 Aug 2013 News briefs

UN launches first-ever survey of people living with disabilities in disaster zones

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and partners today launched the first-ever survey of people living with disabilities on their coping capacity in the face of a disaster event. Margareta Wahlström, head of UNISDR, said today: “The survey will focus on a major blind spot in disaster management, the needs of the one billion or more people estimated to live with some form of disability. We can expect that as many as 30 million people living with a disability are affected during an average year by earthquakes and weather-related hazards.”
29 Jul 2013 Press release

Champion who is 'always committed to disaster reduction'

The Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina municipality in Nouakchott (Mauritania), Ms. Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, has been named Champion of the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign in recognition of her commitment and dedication to make her city more resilient to disasters. The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms. Margareta Wahlström, designated Ms. Abdel Malik for this honorary position, which recognizes individuals who use their political influence to promote disaster risk reduction.
23 Jul 2013 News briefs

School director pioneers safer learning for pupils

An innovative school director in northern Thailand has shown how his pupils can learn in safety with little additional financial cost and burden on staff. The Director of Baiboonlamphun School, Mr Pachernwaat Srichai, said school safety was becoming more of a priority with parents demanding secure environments for their children.
23 Jul 2013 News briefs

UN recognizes Campinas’ lead to reduce disaster risk

The UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) today recognized the dynamic and vibrant economic and technological centre of Campinas for its commitment to reduce its disaster risk. The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, officially acknowledged Campinas as Brazil’s first Role Model City of UNISDR's Making Cities Resilient campaign.
22 Jul 2013 News briefs

‘The fact we learn so slowly means we pay for it in dollars’

“Neither disasters nor climate change is an issue for the future it’s an issue for today. The fact that we learn so slowly means we are paying for it – and we are paying in dollars” – the Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Ms Margareta Wahlström challenges the world to strengthen its approach to disaster risk management and reverse the escalation in direct economic losses from disasters. Ms Wahlström was interviewed for this TVNZ news report while at the 2013 Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Fiji, this month.
22 Jul 2013 News briefs

'This bridge has been destroyed six times so now we build it higher and stronger'

The leader of Fiji’s disaster-hit Western Division has pledged to forge an integrated cross-sectoral strategy to achieve a safer and more resilient future. Western Division Commissioner Mr Joeli Cawaki and his team of technical experts told the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, that integrated planning and action was vital after being hit by two serious floods and a major cyclone in 2012.
19 Jul 2013 News briefs

UNISDR chief urges next generation of leaders to help make their world safer

The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, signalled the importance of the next generation taking up the challenge of building a safer and more resilient future. Ms Wahlström urged a group of youth ambassadors from the Republic of Korea, China and Japan to take leadership roles in advocating for disaster and climate resilient development.
18 Jul 2013 News briefs

Tonga's motto inspires leaders to safeguard a resilient inheritance

"God and Tonga are my inheritance" – the motto of this Pacific Kingdom – has inspired its leaders to move to safeguard their country for future generations. Their efforts represent an inspiring example of ambitious disaster and climate resilient development steered by strong national leadership that is based on community ownership.
17 Jul 2013 News briefs

Pacific environment leader warns: ‘We will be the first to go under’

The head of a major Pacific regional organization said the region’s acute vulnerability left it no alternative but to lead the world in integrating risk reduction and climate change action into one over-arching strategy to secure a sustainable future. The Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Dr David Sheppard, said the Pacific would rise to the challenge but they needed the world to join efforts too.
16 Jul 2013 News briefs

‘Recovery the key to future relevance of Pacific regional organisations’

A landmark study says that regional organizations involved in disaster risk management in the Pacific will have to demonstrate excellence in technical assistance and be aligned to international financial flows to remain relevant.
15 Jul 2013 News briefs

Bank chief urges business to lend its resilience wisdom

Businesses that bounced back quickly from a recent spate of disasters have a lot to teach policymakers and community leaders about resilience, a banking executive told a major Pacific development forum today.
10 Jul 2013 News briefs

UNISDR welcomes post-2015 proposal on resilient cities

UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström today welcomed a proposal that "resilient cities" should be one of ten top global priorities in the post-2015 development agenda.
24 Jun 2013 News briefs

Developer unveils vision of cities as havens during disasters

An innovative urban developer in one of the world's most hazard-prone countries has urged public and private sector leaders to embrace his company's vision of building cities that 'people escape to rather than run away from' during disasters.
17 Jun 2013 News briefs

Governments identify challenges ahead

Senior Government officials from around the world today reaffirmed their commitment to disaster risk reduction to save lives and reverse the trend of mounting economic losses caused by impacts from natural disasters and climate change.
23 May 2013 News briefs

New €100,000 Risk Award announced at close of 4th Global Platform

Details were announced today of the 2014 RISK Award -- "Disaster Emergency -- Resilience for the Most Vulnerable" and a call was made for applications for the Award which includes a grant of €100,000 for a project in disaster emergency planning which focuses on the most vulnerable. The deadline for applications is 31 December 2013.
23 May 2013 Press release

Government ministers call for support to disaster-proof schools and hospitals at Global Platform

Representatives from 35 governments who met with business executives and senior experts at the 4th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, have issued a call "to develop nationally agreed standards for hazard risk assessments especially of critical infrastructure (including schools, health centers, electricity and water supply systems, nodal ITC centres, road and transport systems) by 2015."
22 May 2013 Press release

UN Secretary-General warns: “Economic losses from disasters are out of control”

The United Nations today issued a stark warning to the world's business community that economic losses linked to disasters are "out of control" and will continue to escalate unless disaster risk management becomes a core part of business investment strategies.
15 May 2013 Press release

UK government welcomes first-ever HFA peer review

The UK has become the first country to undergo a peer review to assess its progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), the world's first comprehensive agreement on disaster risk reduction, adopted in 2005 following the Indian Ocean tsunami.
14 May 2013 Press release

UN Sasakawa Award short-list announced

The Philippines and Sweden have two projects each short-listed for the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction which will be presented in Geneva on May 22 during the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. Projects from Bangladesh and Brazil have also been short-listed by the judging panel which reviewed 28 projects from 20 countries.
6 May 2013 Press release

UN convenes major conference on economic losses from disasters

There are just four weeks to go before 3,000 people arrive in Geneva to attend the largest-ever event staged by the United Nations to discuss how to stem the rising tide of economic losses from disaster events around the world which now regularly surpass $100 billion each year.
23 Apr 2013 Press release

Space: the final frontier of disaster risk reduction

Outer space isn't a place organizations usually think of when looking to build resilience and reduce disaster risks. Yet, this is exactly where participants' minds were when experts were invited by UNISDR and the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to discuss the incorporation of space technology into the post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework.
17 Apr 2013 News briefs
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