Global broadcasters push for DRR in Sendai

Four broadcasting unions whose membership spans Africa, Arab states, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe have vowed to push for greater media involvement in disaster risk reduction, given their crucial role as a conduit of information to the public.

A post-Sendai Plan with EBU

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) discussed a plan of action to implement the new Sendai Framework for Action at a meeting held in Geneva in May 2015 and agreed on a number of actions that will be taken by the end of the year.

Among the actions proposed are: working on an updated version of the media handbook called “Disasters from a different lens”, boosting the media coverage of the International Day on Disaster Risk Reduction that will be held on 13 October 2015 and increasing the collaboration of European broadcasters and UNISDR in the lead up to the Cop 21 in Paris next December.

Highlights of Media-related Activities

Watch the TV debate webcast

TV Debate: Disaster Risk Reduction and the Private Sector

The well-known BBC World presenter, Mr David Eades, hosted a special televised panel discussion at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. In this special event, a high-powered panel of key business and government leaders discussed whether the global building industry needs to make urgent and radical changes in order to protect communities from the impacts of disasters given that the private sector is responsible for up to 80% of investment in all urban infrastructures.

Watch the webcast

TV Film Documentary on Disaster Risk Reduction

Twelve films were shortlisted for the first edition of the International Award for Best TV Documentary on Disaster Risk Reduction, a competition honouring work that spotlights human stories, investigation and innovation. The four categories for competition entries were: Best Human Story; Best Investigative Story; Most Innovative Documentary; and Best Disaster Risk Reduction Story. The award ceremony took place at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.

Learn more about the winners and nominees

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The media can make a real difference in the way people think and act about disasters.

Reporters, commentators, editors, broadcasters, and all members of the media can do more than just inform and raise awareness about disasters. By exploring the root causes of disasters and their social dimensions, the media can help communities and countries understand what it is that makes them vulnerable, and what they can do to increase their capacities to cope with disasters.

Download the media guidebook

UNISDR works with the media to share the inside scoop on disasters and risk reduction, and translates them into useful concepts for the public.

The media is a powerful force that can influence policy change and, together with other development stakeholders, bridge the information gap between communities and governments. The dialogue created by the media between government and communities can help to shift the focus from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. Working with journalists from The Guardian, Thompson Reuter's AlertNet, the BBC, Vietnam TV, and Tempo in Jakarta, UNISDR produced a guidebook for the media to learn more about disaster risk reduction issues.

The 190-page manual, "Disaster through a Different Lens," describes how climate change, environmental degradation, poverty and rapid urbanization contribute to expose more people to disasters, and discusses what media can do to convince more national and local governments to invest more in disaster risk reduction policies.

UNISDR's Media Partners Covering Disasters

UNISDR's Media Outreach in 2014

Advocacy opportunities were grasped in relation to the solid performances of the Indian and Philippines governments in managing the threat from major storm systems in the latter half of the year. Many thousands of lives were saved in the face of Cyclone Hudhud in India where national media picked up on UNISDR’s commentary in October. The international media reported extensively on UNISDR’s analysis of the situation as, in November, Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby followed almost the same trajectory as Typhoon Haiyan a year earlier in the Philippines. There were over 4,000 news articles on Google across all regions and many languages, referencing UNISDR’s press briefing in advance of the storm making landfall. It was a rare example of the media focusing on disaster preparedness in advance of a major threat e.g. the BBC interviewed the Vice Mayor of Tacloban at the suggestion of UNISDR.

UNISDR generated coverage of the the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami included interviews with BBC Newsday, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Thai PBS, Agence France Presse and Xinhua news agency. Other media highlights included a BBC World TV news interview with the SRSG in February. CNN online (84 million visitors) also quoted the SRSG on the Chile earthquake and referenced the GAR 13. Both the SRSG and GAR coordinator were interviewed for a Financial Times story on urban success stories for disaster risk reduction. The editorial calendar also included features for Project Syndicate, Thomson Reuters, International Innovation Magazine, the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Exploring Extremes (Willis Group book); UNA-UK, International Council for Science, UN-GLS, European Geological Surveys, and German insurance magazine Versicherungswirtschaf.

There was good regional and national media coverage for each of the regional platforms thanks to the efforts of the regional offices with support as required from Geneva. Communications support was provided to several high-profile meetings and events including 7th World Urban Forum, Abu Dhabi Ascent Summit, the launch of the R!SE Initiative, OECD Ministerial Meeting, the ASEM Meeting/Tacloban Declaration, IIS/Willis hosted Global Summit, the UN Climate Summit, Regional Platforms in Africa, Americas, Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East; Emergency Media Public Affairs Conferences in Australia and New Zealand; 1st European Ministerial Meeting on DRR; Greater Manchester joining the Making Cities Resilient Campaign; Top Leaders’ Forum, Philippines; Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge; Davos Risk Award; Vice-Governor of Fukushima’s visit to Europe; launch of World Disasters Report; and the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

UNISDR published a total of 188 news items on including 32 press releases, compared to 158 and 32 respectively in 2013. Unique visitor numbers overall in 2014 were 464,553 compared to 472,723 in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan gave web visitor numbers a big boost. These were further boosted by significant organic growth on social media with Twitter growing from 15,100 to 24,200 and Facebook, from 4,900 to 8,100. As of September 2015, UNISDR has 34,000’ followers on Twitter and 10,500 on Facebook.

Independent media tracking by keyword showed that in a year without any Global Platform key word mentions held up significantly as follows, with 2012 as a baseline in brackets: Disaster Risk Reduction, 10,207 (3,476); UNISDR, 842 (345); Margareta Wahlström, 217 (315); Climate Change Adaptation, 5,833 (2,852); Disaster Resilience, 1,225 (544); Disaster Reduction, 1,379 (1,068).

UNISDR's focal point for the media is Brigitte Leoni (leonib(at)

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