United Nations General Assembly resolutions
Updated 26 January 2005

 WCDR secretariat
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 CH 1211 Geneva 10,
 Tel: +41 22 9172529/762/759
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Brief history of the
WCDR Process

Road to the WCDR
Through its resolution A/RES/58/214, the United Nations General Assembly convened a World Conference on Disaster Reduction, to be held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, from 18 to 22 January 2005. The Conference was to take stock of progress in disaster risk reduction accomplished since the Yokohama Conference of 1994 and to make plans for the next ten years. The GA requested the ISDR secretariat to serve as the secretariat of the Conference; a special unit for WCDR was established, coordinating the process of the World Conference. An open-ended Preparatory Committee was established, led by a Bureau consisting of five Member States representing the regional groups, plus the host country, Japan, as an ex-officio member. The Bureau led the discussions in reviewing organizational and substantive preparations for the Conference.

  • PrepCom 1 and IATF 9th Meeting
    The first session of the Preparatory Committee took place in Geneva in May 2004, following the ninth session of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction.
  • PrepCom 2 and IATF 10th Meeting
    The second session of the Preparatory Committee was held in October 2004 in Geneva, following the tenth session of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) served as a vehicle to support substantive discussions at the WCDR. Between the Preparatory Committee sessions, a number of consultations were held under the guidance of the Bureau.
  • On-line dialogue
    The ISDR secretariat led an on-line dialogue with support from UNDP from 15 June to 15 July 2004 to discuss priority areas for further action to implement disaster risk reduction in 2005-2015. The outcome of the discussion contributed directly to the review of the Yokohama Strategy and indirectly to the intergovernmental consultations on the framework for action that preceded the Conference.
  • National Reporting
    As the substantive participation of national authorities was crucial for making the Conference productive, ISDR requested governments to provide a national reporting and information on disaster reduction, which encouraged national authorities and platforms for disaster reduction to provide information to identify needs and elaborate policy recommendations for the preparatory process of the WCDR.
  • Regional and thematic meetings
    The discussions held in a number of regional and thematic meetings organized by partner agencies in a variety of locations contributed to the preparatory process from their relevant perspectives.
  • Main/Drafting Committee
    At its second session, the Preparatory Committee created a Drafting Committee that was entrusted with the oversight and production of the Conference outcome documents: the Review of the Yokohama Strategy, the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015, and the Hyogo Declaration. The latter two were negotiated by the Committee in Geneva, then by the Main Committee in Kobe. The first meeting of the Drafting Committee was held on 9 November 2004 in Geneva, and was followed by several more meetings until 17 December. The drafting work was then passed on to the Main Committee that was created by the Conference in Kobe, and that finalized the two negotiated texts. The Conference took note of the Yokohama Review, and approved the Hyogo Declaration and Hyogo Framework for Action. The Drafting Committee and the Main Committee were chaired by Mr. Marco Ferrari, Switzerland.
  • Other inputs received
    In the course of consultations and discussions, the ISDR Secretariat received a variety of inputs from civil society.
  • The media
    During the build-up process towards the Conference, a sensitisation campaign was organised to alert the media about the Conference and to brief them on the importance of disaster risk reduction. This effort in media relations focus particularly on a series of natural disasters during the autumn and winter of 2004-05, culminating with the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004.

The WCDR was composed of three main processes, Intergovernmental segment; Thematic segment; and Public Forum.

  • Intergovernmental segment
    The Intergovernmental segment, with delegations from more than 160 Member States, provided the venue for delegates to make general statements on the issues of disaster reduction. In addition to the Plenary, a Main Committee (Drafting Committee) was held for negotiation and drafting purposes. The chairperson of the Drafting Committee presented the final texts of the negotiated outcome documents (Hyogo Framework of Action, and the Hyogo Declaration) to the Conference on the last day of the Conference for adoption by the WCDR.
  • Thematic segment
    The Thematic Segment was formatted to complement the discussions on the programme outcome at the intergovernmental level. The Thematic segment consisted of three High-level Round Tables and a number of Thematic Sessions clustered under five Thematic Panels, as well as Regional Sessions. A large number of events took place under this segment, which provided the substantive part of the Conference, in all areas related to disaster risk reduction. The panels were led by government representatives with the support of agencies.
  • Public forum
    The public form, open to the general public and Conference participants, consisted of Workshops, Exhibition booths, and Poster Sessions. With approximately 40,000 general participants and visitors, the Public Forum provided opportunities to promote organizations' own activities through presentations, posters and a public exhibition, engaging in open debates, seminars and a variety of events. Organizers included governments, UN agencies, international organizations, NGOs, technical institutions, and private sector

Outcomes of the WCDR
The following four documents are the main outcome of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction. They represent a strong commitment of the international community to address disaster reduction and to engage in a determined, results-oriented plan of action for the next decade (Hyogo Declaration and Hyogo Framework of Action, as well as the Common Statement are part of the Report of the Conference).

  1. Review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World
  2. Hyogo Declaration
  3. Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters
  4. Common Statement of the Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: risk reduction for a safer future

Proceedings of the Conference
Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters
Beyond Kobe
A Proactive Look at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction. 18-22 January 2005, Kobe, Japan

Main WCDR official documents
Report of the Conference
16 March 2005
  [English - French - Spanish
Chinese - Arabic - Russian]
Hyogo Declaration
Hyogo Framework for Action
Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters
Common statement of the
Special Session on the
Indian Ocean Disaster:
risk reduction for a safer future
Review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World 
20 December 2004
  [English - French - Spanish
Chinese - Arabic - Russian]
see more official documents

Thematic segment
Draft summary report of the thematic segment of the WCDR
Cluster 1: Governance, Institutional And Policy Frameworks For Risk Reduction
Closing statements
Panel Session 1.6
Session 1.1 Session 1.7
Session 1.2 Session 1.8
Session 1.3 Session 1.9
Session 1.4 Session 1.10
Session 1.5  
Cluster 2: Risk identification, assessment, monitoring and early warning
Closing statements
Panel Session 2.5
Session 2.1 Session 2.6
Session 2.2 Session 2.7
Session 2.3 Session 2.8
Session 2.4 Session 2.9
Cluster 3: Knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience
Panel Session 3.6
Session 3.1 Session 3.7
Session 3.2 Session 3.8
Session 3.3 Session 3.9
Session 3.4 Session 3.10
Session 3.5  
Cluster 4: Reducing the underlying risk factors
Closing statements
Panel Session 4.6
Session 4.1 Session 4.7
Session 4.2 Session 4.8
Session 4.3 Session 4.9
Session 4.4 Session 4.10
Session 4.5  
Cluster 5: Preparedness for effective response
Closing statements
Panel Session 5.4
Session 5.1 Session 5.5
Session 5.2 Session 5.6
Session 5.3  




Session 2.6: Disaster reduction through efficient risk communication Session 4.3: Financing disaster risk Session 3-1: Education for sustainable development:  towards effective disaster reduction and enhancing human security Session 2.3: Reducing Risks Through Effective Early Warnings of Severe Weather Hazards Session 5.6: Case studies onPreparedness for effective response Session 4.4: Reducing and managing disaster risk through financial services Session 3.5: Seismic disaster mitigation assurance in the 21st century – how should our societies encounter major earthquakes? Session 2.8: Data for evidence-based policy making Session 1.1: Institutional policy frameworks for disaster deduction: the role of international financial institutions in meanstreaming risk Session 4.2: Vulnerability reduction of health facilities Session 3.9: Supporting community resilience is the key to reducing disaster impact Session 2.1: Integrated flood risk management through appropriate knowledge sharing and capacity building systems Session 1.10: Addressing the root causes of vulnerability of human settlements in megacities Session 1.3: National systems for disaster risk management in the context of governance Session 3.4: Creating a Culture of Prevention: Gender Balanced Public Awareness Initiatives