Participants at the ‘Training of Trainers on Making Cities Resilient: Developing and Implementing Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plans’ workshop (photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
INCHEON, 23 January 2018
– Twenty cities with a combined population of more than 50 million people today began sharing experience on how to save lives and protect livelihoods in the face of mounting disaster and climate risk.
The various senior local government officials identified the critical need for political will supported by planning and careful use of resources as the foundation for resilient urban development.
The municipalities – with populations ranging from 70,000 to 10 million – are convening for a four-day training to refine and scale up implementation of their respective Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plans.
Minister Counsellor of the European Union delegation to the Republic of Korea, Dr. Joelle Hivonnet, who opened the event said: “Nobody is immune from disasters; they are causing an increasing cost in both human and financial terms.”
Dr Hivonnet recounted how since 2005, disasters in the EU have cost the equivalent of the annual GDP of Hungary.
Mr. Ricardo Mena, UNISDR Chief of Support and Monitoring of Sendai Framework Implementation, pointed to the huge opportunity for urban development to become more risk sensitive over the coming 30 or so years with the number of people living in cities set to double from 3.5 billion to 7 billion.
“It is very important for municipalities and local government to have DRR Action Plans to ensure sustainable development over the long term. If this is not the case we will continue to build the stock of disaster risk as cities get bigger,” Mr Mena said.
Honiara, Solomon Islands, is the smallest municipality present. Town Clerk Mr Charles Kelly said the workshop is an excellent opportunity to exchange experience.
“We are a small capital city of a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Pacific but with a lot of experience to share. At the same time it is very useful for us to hear from other cities and reflect on how we can use these experiences to make Honiara more disaster resilient,’ Mr Kelly said.
Khartoum, Sudan, is one of the biggest cities engaged in the programme. Mr. Bushra Ahmed of the city’s DRR and Climate Change Department, said: “Better planning is vital to increase the resilience of Khartoum. We will use the learning from this meeting – particularly in terms of disaster loss data management – for the benefit of our own city as well as others in Sudan.”
The programme is supported by the European Commission. The 20 cities taking part are: Kampala, Uganda; Dire-Dawa, Ethiopia; Kisumu, Kenya; Yaounde, Cameroon; Praia, Cabo Verde; Khartoum, Sudan; Ismaliya Governorate, Egypt; Nablus, State of Palestine; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Kathmandu City, Nepal; Dhaka North City Corporation, Bangladesh; Cilacap Regency, Indonesia; Mawlamyine, Myanmar; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Guayaquil, Ecuador; San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru; Guatemala City, Guatemala; and Santo Domingo Esto, Dominican Republic.
The development of city DRR Action Plans contributes to the achievement of the most immediate target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which sets a deadline of 2020 for the development of local and national strategies for disaster risk reduction.
The ‘Training of Trainers on Making Cities Resilient: Developing and Implementing Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plans’ workshop is taking place at UNISDR’s Global Education and Training Institute (GETI), Incheon, Republic of Korea.
UNISDR’s GETI is supported by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the City of Incheon.