Kristianstad inspires with flood protection measures
BRUSSELS, 22 November 2011 - The municipality of Kristianstad in Southern Sweden, one of over a thousand cities that have now joined UNISDR’s World Disaster Reduction Campaign (2010-2015) - Making Cities Resilient: "My city is getting ready" was recently awarded role model status by UNISDR.
Mayor of Kristianstad, Sten Hermansson received the certificate conferring role model status during the Safety and Security Fair in Stockholm last Wednesday in which Chief of the UN Disaster Risk Reduction Office (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, was participating.
UNISDR Director a.i. Helena Molin Valdes said “Kristianstad is one of two Swedish cities that have adopted the World Disaster Reduction Campaign’s Ten essentials for making cities resilient. The municipality's efforts to prevent flooding and protect drinking water will inspire cities in other parts of the world.
“This special status is recognition that Kristianstad is now a leader in the disaster risk reduction (DRR) community and a key advocacy partner in the U.N.’s global strategy to encourage local governments to become active participants and leaders in DRR. One thousand cities around the world are now looking to Sweden, to Kristianstad, and to Karlstad, the second Swedish city which was selected as a role model on 24 October this year, for further inspiration”.
Role model cities are a clarion call for mayors and local governments to make as many cities as possible as resilient as possible. A city is designated as a role model when it demonstrates good practices in building resilience and safety in at least five out of the Campaign’s Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient.
Fire engineer Anders Pålsson, a former municipal coordinator for Kristianstad’s participation in the Campaign said: "Participation in this campaign is really exciting. We look forward to being able to share our good lessons with floods and drinking water safety and to create international contacts that can provide us with new examples". Palsson, recently invited to London, Hull and York in England to view flooding problems and solutions, encouraged Hull and York to join the Campaign.
The Ten essentials include: organization and coordination of risk management; budget assignation; preparation of risk assessments; investment and maintenance of infrastructure that reduces risk; safe schools and health facilities; risk compliant building regulations and land use planning; education and training in disaster reduction; protection of ecosystems and natural buffers; early warning systems and emergency management; and the needs of survivors. On a scale of one to three, with one representing poor performance and three signifying well functioning, Kristianstad scored three on all the essentials.
Several major floods have affected Kristianstad recently and more of the same are expected in the future. Particular sites, buildings and critical infrastructure need special protection against disasters. Protecting the quality of drinking water is also a key consideration. Kristiansand has several large industries with special risks, including the handling of flammable gas and large contiguous settlements in Kristianstad’s city centre.
The Safety and Security Fair was arranged by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), the national body that coordinates efforts to prevent and mitigate the effects of natural hazards and climate change adaptation. MSB also coordinates the Swedish National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction which was established in 2007.
There are currently 19 role model cities. The other 17 are: Argentina (Santa Fe); Austria (Lienz); Canada (District of North Vancouver); China (Chengdu); El Salvador (Santa Tecla); Germany (Bonn); India (Bhubaneswar, Mumbai); Iran (Mashad); Italy (Venice); Japan (Hyogo Prefecture); Mexico (Mexico City); Philippines (Governorate of Albay, San Francisco); Senegal (St. Louis); South Africa (Cape Town); and Thailand (Bangkok).