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China backs cooperation on DRR

China has signaled its support for stronger international cooperation to prevent and reduce the impact of disasters as momentum builds to develop the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
13 May 2014 News briefs

Towards the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction and beyond

Statement by Margareta Wahlström, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, at the opening ceremony of 5th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
13 May 2014 Statements & speeches

OECD work on resilience important for DRR World Conference

The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlstrom, has said that the OECD can have a “critical impact” on the preparatory work leading up the adoption of a new global framework for disaster risk reduction at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015.
7 May 2014 News briefs

UNISDR welcomes new urban resilience collaboration

UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström today welcomed the creation of a new collaboration between nine key players in the global effort to build urban resilience to disasters and to strengthen the social, economic and environmental fabric of the world’s urban spaces.
11 Apr 2014 News briefs

Post-quake opportunity in Chile

The Head of UNISDR, Margareta Wahlström, arrived yesterday in Chile, where she was received by the President, Michelle Bachelet, prior to a regional consultation on disaster risk reduction with the eleven member countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
10 Apr 2014 News briefs

New Champion for Making Cities Resilient

The Mayor of the Argentinian city, Sante Fe, José Corral, returns to his home city tomorrow from the 7th World Urban Forum (WUF7) as a Champion of UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign .
9 Apr 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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

SDGs open way for ‘resilient development’

“Disaster risk reduction should not be seen only as an imperative to protecting investments in development, but also as an opportunity for a transformative shift towards resilient development.” This rousing statement from disaster-prone Bangladesh was one of several calls from governments for disaster and climate risk considerations to be incorporated at every stage of development. The seventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals heard consistent support for the integration of disaster risk management within each sector that may be addressed by the goals, such as poverty eradication, energy, health, food security.
15 Jan 2014 News briefs

Cyclone evacuation to become a global example

The effective evacuation of almost 1 million people in Odisha ahead of Cyclone Phailin will be highlighted as a global example in the lead-up to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in 2015. The Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Ms Margareta Wahlström, lauded Odisha for its ‘landmark success’ actions in limiting the number of deaths directly caused by the cyclone to 21. “We have started work on documenting the Odisha success story and will highlight it as an example at the World Conference. It is easy to talk about problems and failures. We have to bring into people’s minds what works,” Ms Wahlström said.
23 Dec 2013 News briefs

UN sets the stage for adoption of a new global agreement on disaster risk in 2015

The United Nations General Assembly has set the stage for a new global agreement on reducing the impact of disasters by confirming that the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in Sendai City, Japan from 14 to 18 March 2015. The main item on the Conference agenda is agreement on a successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action which was adopted at the last such Conference in 2005 within weeks of the Indian Ocean tsunami and which was attended by representatives from 168 UN Member States. Over 8,000 people are expected to attend the 2015 event including heads of State, government ministers, parliamentarians, academics, NGO and other civil society representatives. UNISDR Chief Margareta Wahlström said: “The 3rd World Conference provides us with a rare opportunity to forge universal agreement on how to build disaster resilience across all sectors of society. It is particularly important that we have a strong urban focus as we expect 75% of the world’s population to be living in towns and cities by 2050.” Sendai City is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture in the Tōhoku region with a population of one million people. In March 2011, it was one of the cities affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which killed over 15,000 people and is one of the costliest disasters in history. Ms. Emiko Okuyama, the Mayor of Sendai City, today unveiled the Conference logo. She said: “This logo was designed by a local designer and represents people joining hands to create a chain of action. The five colours stand for the five priorities of Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015): Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters which brought the concept of resilience into the mainstream of development thinking. We look forward to hosting the Conference and to welcoming the world to the Tohoku region which has made a strong recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.”
12 Dec 2013 Press release

New legislation strengthens EU disaster risk management

The European Parliament today paved the way for stronger cooperation in responding to disasters by adopting new legislation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism set to come into force at the beginning of 2014. The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Ms Kristalina Georgieva, welcomed the vote, which she said would benefit Europe's citizens and communities globally. “A rising trend in natural and man-made disasters over the past decade has demonstrated that coherent, efficient and effective policies on disaster management are needed now more than ever”. Ms Georgieva said.
10 Dec 2013 News briefs

Global insurance group boosts DRR partnership

A global insurance company has provided a significant boost to public-private partnerships aimed at reducing disaster risk. The Chairman and CEO of the AXA Group, Mr Henri de Castries, signed a Statement of Commitment by the Private Sector for Disaster Prevention, Resilience and Risk Reduction, at AXA’s head office in Paris, during a meeting with the Chief of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Ms Margareta Wahlström. “The AXA Group is already supporting the work of UNISDR’s Private Sector Advisory Group so it makes sense now to become a full member of the Partnership,” said Mr. de Castries, whose AXA Group has 160,000 employees in 57 countries.
9 Dec 2013 News briefs

DRR takes centre stage of typhoon recovery

Disaster risk reduction is emerging as central to the Philippines’ recovery and reconstruction plans in the wake of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda. One of several leaders supporting increased investment in resilient structures is Mayor Ian Christopher Escario of Bantayan municipality, who oversaw a mass evacuation that limited the number of deaths to 15 people out of 90,000 in the face of the typhoon. “We were able to evacuate 30,000 people a couple of days before using sirens and radio messages. People were informed but nobody could foresee the violence of the storm surge,” Mayor Escario said. “Now we need to invest more in resilient infrastructures as all the roofs of the buildings have been blown away. Economic losses are huge and we are still assessing the damages and will take the necessary lessons of what happened.”
26 Nov 2013 News briefs

CEOs: 'We have resilience tools, let's use them'

More than 50 CEOs and top managers from the insurance, bank, airline, retail, real estate and other industries in Asia gathered today in Manila to consider incentives and benchmarking tools to make their corporations more resilient against disasters. The meeting comes two weeks after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, which, according to latest official figures, killed 5,209 people and continues to affect more than 10 million Filipinos. The host of the forum, Mr. Hans T. Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings Inc, the country’s largest mall operator, said: “The effect of climate change is coming sooner than expected. In the Philippines alone, we have experienced 104 significant typhoons and 72 floods since 2002.”
22 Nov 2013 News briefs

Philippines launches safe schools campaign post-Haiyan

The Philippines today looked to the future and launched a new “Safe Schools” campaign with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) even as the country continues to deal with the many humanitarian needs left behind by Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda including the fact that thousands of children are unable to return to education because over 600 schools have been destroyed and 1.7 million children have lost their homes. Margareta Wahlström, the head of UNISDR, helped launch the initiative which will target 48,000 public schools, with the Under Secretary for the Department of Education, Dina Ocampo, Senator Loren Legarda and the UNDP Country Director, Tohishiro Tanaka. Under the slogan, “How Safe is Your School?” the programme is designed to raise public awareness and build social demand for safety checks, disaster preparedness, and school education on disaster risk reduction.
21 Nov 2013 Press release

Safe schools key to sustainable development

A new programme on school safety launched yesterday in the Philippines less than two weeks after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan urges pupils, teachers and communities to proactively assess the resilience and preparedness of their schools. The unveiling of the "How Safe Is Your School?” initiative in the Philippines is the first step of what the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) intends will be formalized as a global initiative at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Japan, in March 2015.
21 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

Tsunami city ‘starts from zero’

The Mayor of a Japanese city devastated by the March 2011 tsunami aims to make his municipality a global leader of inclusive redevelopment. Mr Futoshi Toba, the Mayor of Rikuzenkata City in Iwate prefecture, said: “We can start from zero and make sure that every citizen is integrated in the planning and reconstruction process, in particular those persons with disabilities and the elderly people who were the most exposed by the 11 March disaster.” The Mayor was speaking during the visit of Ms Margareta Wahlström, the Head of the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). “Rikuzentakata has the opportunity to become a model city for the world,” the Mayor said. “Our city will have a lot to showcase on inclusive reconstruction processes that can help other cities in the world to be better prepared against disasters. We hope to share this experience to the world.”
5 Nov 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

Odisha braces itself for floods

The State Government of Odisha in India is now bracing itself for the possibility of additional flooding as the remains of Cyclone Phailin move inland filling rivers and reservoirs to the brim. A State Government MP, Baijayant Panda, told UNISDR today that the flood situation is unpredictable and that early estimates are that 500,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated by the tidal surge and the heavy rains. “It is still too early to say the full extent of the damage to crop lands but it is significant. We may need help from central government with food stocks,” he said.
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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