Representatives of the six Russian municipalities that have joined the Making Cities Resilient campaign display the certificates that they received at the event in Moscow (Photo: EMERCOM)
By Sarah Wade-Apicella
MOSCOW – 27 January 2017 – Russia’s oldest city and another that will host matches in the 2018 football World Cup are among the first six communities in the Russian Federation to join UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient campaign.
Kazan, Almetyevsk and Naberezhnye Chelny in the Republic of Tatarstan, and Buynaksk, Derbent and Kaspiysk in the Republic of Dagestan, signed up in Moscow this week to implement the campaign’s “Ten Essentials” checklist to become safe cities that are resilient to disasters triggered by natural and man-made hazards.
Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan and home to 1.19 million people. A UNESCO World Heritage site, its ancient walls witnessed many dramatic events including a siege by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. It will be besieged by football fans once the World Cup gets underway next year.
“Now that we are signatories to the Making Cities Resilient campaign, we will spare no effort in developing a prevention programme,” said Mr. F.M. Timurkhanov, Head of Kazan’s Civil Defence Directorate. He highlighted Kazan’s success in reducing the number of fires and mortality from fire in the last year due to targeted safety programmes.
Derbent, which has some 120,000 inhabitants, claims to be the oldest city in Russia, dating back to the 8th century BC, and is likewise a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cities in Dagestan are exposed to floods, earthquakes and rock slides. There are also many potential man-made hazards in the region which is home to hydroelectric and oil production companies.
Officials from the six cities participated this week in a two-day training exercise based on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a global agreement that sets out targets for curbing disaster losses over the next 14 years.
A key target to be achieved by 2020 is a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies. Progress on achieving this was a key priority during the workshop on local-level implementation of the Sendai Framework.
The training event was co-organized by the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM), the UNISDR Regional Office for Europe and the UNISDR Global Education and Training Institute (GETI). The workshop, which includes the participation of Bauman Moscow State Technical University and the RUDN University, followed similar events held in December 2015 and May 2016.
Mr. Sh. G. Aliev, Deputy Head of the General Directorate of EMERCOM in the Republic of Dagestan, shared current efforts to install risk monitoring systems that track the status of facilities and to roll out early warning and public information systems. “Trying to improve the implementation of legal frameworks at the municipal level is key. Such frameworks will help reduce risk and describe procedures,” he said.
Mr. A.G. Chirikov, Acting Chief of the All-Russian Research Institute for Civil Defence and Emergencies at EMERCOM said that while Russia has extensive experience in planning and preparedness, “it is now time to plan for prevention.” He challenged representatives of the six municipalities to increase the resilience of their people and cities.
The Making Cities Resilient campaign was launched by UNISDR in 2010. The flagship programme has grown into a worldwide grouping of more than 3,400 communities, and the numbers are expanding apace.
Mr. Luca Rossi of the UNISDR Regional Office for Europe said: “Disaster risk reduction requires a huge effort which can’t be put in place by a national government alone. The active engagement of national and local authorities, academia, private sector, civil society and all other relevant stakeholders is crucial.”
Self-assessment according to a series of benchmarks known as the “Ten Essentials” lies at the heart of the campaign, along with sharing best practice among participating cities. Areas under scrutiny include a city’s budget, how critical infrastructure is handled, policies to ensure all members of the community are included in risk planning, the safety of schools and health facilities, risk-compliant building regulations and land use, protection of ecosystems, and early warning systems.