Former Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction
Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction - Functions and responsibilities - Membership - Working groups - Discussion groups -Meeting records

Functions and responsibilities

The UN General Assembly, through resolutions 54/219 and 56/195, established an Inter-Agency Secretariat and an Inter-Agency Task Force for the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

Purpose of the Inter-Agency Task Force:

To serve as the main forum within the United Nations for continued and concerted emphasis on natural disaster reduction, in particular for defining strategies for international cooperation at all levels in this field, while ensuring complementarity of action with other agencies. Quote: SG Report A/54/497.

The mandated functions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) are:

  1. to serve as the main forum within the United Nations system for devising strategies and policies for the reduction of natural hazards;
  2. to identify gaps in disaster reduction policies and programmes and recommend remedial action;
  3. to provide policy guidance to the ISDR secretariat; and
  4. to convene ad hoc meetings of experts on issues related to disaster reduction.

The Task Force is chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and is composed of up to fourteen representatives of agencies, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system; up to eight representatives from regional entities, and up to eight representatives of civil society and relevant professional sectors. The Director of the ISDR secretariat acts as the Secretary of the Task Force.

The Task Force meets twice a year in Geneva (tentatively April and October). Its meetings are open to other interested organizations as well as representatives of member states who participate as observers. Additional technical and expert bodies are also associated to the work of the Task Force through participation in Working Groups of the Task Force.

Currently, the Task Force has four Working Groups (WG1 on Climate and Disasters, chaired by WMO; WG2 on Early Warning, chaired by UNEP; WG3 on Risk, Vulnerability and Impact Assessment, chaired by UNDP; and WG4 on Wildland Fires, chaired by the Global Fire Monitoring Center, Freiburg, Germany).

Through participations of members and observers and through the work of its four Working Groups the Inter-Agency Task Force is gradually becoming the hub of a large network of organizations and entities from within and outside the UN system having a stake in disaster reduction.

In addition, it should be noted that the IATF provides policy guidance to the ISDR Secretariat, which carries out the day-to-day implementation of the ISDR programme as well as the follow-up to IATF deliberations and those of its Working Groups. In this sense, the IATF and the ISDR Secretariat constitute two complementary and mutually supportive entities.