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UNISDR signs agreement with the Economic Community of Central African States to strengthen collaboration on DRR

As governments enter the second week of negotiations at the United Nations climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, UNISDR today signed an agreement with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to strengthen collaboration on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
7 Dec 2010 News briefs

COP16 from a DRR Perspective: Social media

The need to communicate and share information is strongest at a time of disaster. As social media and mobile phone use has grown, so too has the use of these technologies to signal the onset or aftermath of a disaster. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media were also used extensively during Haiti to connect people affected by the earthquake with the outside world with reports about the devastation, as well as to ask for help.
8 Dec 2010 News briefs

COP16 from a DRR Perspective: Pacific Island countries

Community-based projects to enhance resilience of hazard-prone Pacific island countries have grown in number over the past 20 years. Some university studies have shown that benefits were particularly apparent in cases where development bodies worked with communities to identify risks using local knowledge.
9 Dec 2010 News briefs

Africa forum focuses on community action to reduce disaster risk and adapt to climate change

In a part of the world struggling with climate-related hazards such as drought and flood, experts are meeting to discuss ways for Africa to cope with disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Addressing participants at the opening of the International Conference on Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Abbas Gullet, Secretary-General of the Kenya Red Cross Society, said that climate-related hazards had far-reaching impacts on the Kenyan economy.
9 Dec 2010 News briefs

Mayors and children lead fight against climate change in the Philippines

Just as climate negotiations were wrapping up in Cancún, Mexico, government officials from vulnerable islands in the Philippines took action to reduce the damaging effects of climate change on their communities by joining UNISDR’s world disaster reduction campaign.
13 Dec 2010 Press release

Resilient cities campaign receives attention at Cancun climate summit

While at the Cancun cliamte conference on 8 December, UNISDR Deputy Director Helena Molin Valdes discussed the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign at a UN system-wide side event on "Cities and Climate Change: Enhancing mitigation and adaptation action," attended by approximately 150 national officials, members of UN agencies, and civil society representatives.
13 Dec 2010 News briefs

Blogging Bhutan: “What do you value?”

While communities work diligently to protect vulnerable populations and critical infrastructure, they must remember the other things they would like to see protected -- sacred forests, cultural monuments and heritage sites. A value-based approach to disaster risk reduction is at the heart of discussions at the International Conference on Disaster Management and Cultural Heritage, “Living in Harmony with the Four Elements,” convened by the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of the Royal Government of Bhutan, in cooperation with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, from 12 to 14 December.
13 Dec 2010 News briefs

European cold snap underscores importance of DRR

The experience of Europe’s big cities, immobilized by the cold snap, shows that the world may be under-prepared to deal with less predictable climate patterns, says UNISDR. “National meteorological services in Europe did well to issue warnings, but being prepared goes beyond prediction,” said Margareta Wahlström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR. “A complete and effective early warning system also requires planners to understand the risks they face, so that they are able to respond appropriately.”
14 Dec 2010 News briefs

UNISDR hosts inaugural meeting of Private Sector Advisory Group

Acknowledging their "critical role in an effective disaster risk reduction strategy," UNISDR will bring together representatives from leading companies in an inaugural meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Group, on 17 December in Geneva. Ten companies forming the Advisory Group are DuPont Sustainable Solutions, PricewaterhouseCoopers SA, Willis Re and Willis Research Network, United Nations Foundation, MunichRe Foundation, Dow Chemical Europe, Titan America, Arup International, Credit Suisse and Small Equity Initiative. Along with other members of the private sector, the Advisory Group will discuss -- for the first time -- the "Ten Essentials for Business in Disaster Risk Reduction," outlining ways in which private companies can support governments to develop institutions and legislation to bolster disaster risk reduction.
17 Dec 2010 News briefs

Mayor of St. Louis, Senegal, named Campaign Champion

UNISDR has named Cheikh Mamadou Abiboulaye Dieye, Mayor of Saint Louis, Senegal, champion of the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign, in recognition of his achievements in advancing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Saint Louis City. To mark the occasion, UNISDR held an award ceremony at the "African Cities Commit" regional conference on climate change and local governance. Participants at the conference included mayors from various countries including, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Namibia.
22 Dec 2010 News briefs

Australia floods demonstrate rising cost of damage in the face of “new normal”

Floods in Australia again underline the need for all countries – both developed and developing – to plan ahead or face increasing economic losses in the face of a “new normal” marked by unpredictable and extreme weather patterns. “Reports from Australia say flood damage may reach $1 billion. With weather patterns becoming more unpredictable and extreme, costs of this magnitude may become commonplace in all parts of the world unless we urgently change the way we think about and react to disasters,” said Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.
29 Dec 2010 News briefs

Cebu leads in Making Local Government Units Resilient to Disasters

Cebu City, Philippines – 39 municipalities of Cebu Province, Philippines, today pledged to make their local government units safer from disasters, by joining the United Nations disaster reduction campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City Is Getting Ready!” while gathered at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall, N. Escario St. Capitol Site, Cebu City.
13 Jan 2011 Press release

Governments need to create options for people, says UN’s top disaster official

In an interview with BBC World News, Margareta Wahlstrom, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, stressed the importance of urban planning and creating safe living environments following the flooding and landslides that have hit Australia and Brazil.
17 Jan 2011 News briefs

Campaign cities and partners urged to nominate candidates for the UN-Sasakawa award

In a message from Helena Molin Valdes, Deputy Director of UNISDR, all campaign cities and partners are encouraged to submit a nomination for the UN-Sasakawa award to highlight good practice and achievements against as many of the "ten essentials" for making cities resilient as possible.
17 Jan 2011 News briefs

Recruitment to the Pool of DRR Experts

UNICEF MENARO is currently researching and developing a pilot mechanism for securing disaster risk reduction expertise for UNICEF projects and programmes. The UNICEF Pool of DRR Experts is designed to initially support UNICEF's DRR initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Should the pilot be successful, UNICEF hopes that such a pool of talent is of value to all DRR actors, not only in MENA but ultimately at the global scale.
18 Jan 2011 News briefs

Over one hundred Municipal Leaders in Orissa pledge to strengthen environmental sustainability

Some 102 Municipal leaders in the State of Orissa battling with recurrent cyclones, floods, droughts and heat waves agreed today to make their cities more resilient to multiple hazards, by signing up to the UNISDR “Making Cities Resilient” campaign. Orissa, despite being one of the poorest states in India, is slowly becoming the hub for industries, IT, education and medical infrastructure.
21 Jan 2011 Press release

Killer year caps deadly decade - reducing disaster impact is "critical" says top UN disaster official

Geneva – Some 373 natural disasters killed over 296,800 people in 2010, affecting nearly 208 million others and costing nearly US$110 billion, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). The top two most lethal disasters -- the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 222,500 people, as well as the Russian heat wave in summer, which caused about 56,000 fatalities made 2010 the deadliest years in at least two decades.
24 Jan 2011 Press release

Killer year caps deadly decade - reducing disaster impact is "critical" says top UN disaster official

24 Jan 2011 Press release

Strengthening climate change adaptation through effective disaster risk reduction

This briefing note highlights that climate change adaptation relies on the reduction and management of climate-related disaster risks and why both need to become central to development planning and investment. It incorporates evidence that illustrates how climate risks are constructed and which risks can be reduced cost effectively.
2 Feb 2011 News briefs

Surviving Yasi due to planning and not ‘miracle’, says top UN disaster official

North-eastern Australia suffered no casualties after Cyclone Yasi, which UNISDR says was due to a high level of risk awareness and planning, rather than a “miracle,” as some call it. Tropical Cyclone Yasi crossed the Australian mainland at midnight local time on Wednesday, but despite its category-5 strength, there were no reports of serious injuries or fatalities, according to a situation update from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
4 Feb 2011 Press release

The province of Tyrol, Austria, and all its 279 municipalities join the Making Cities Resilient campaign

The province of Tyrol and all its 279 municipalities joined the Making Cities Resilient campaign, with the City of Lienz taking the lead. Tyrol follows an innovative approach to disaster risk reduction: Between 2010 and 2013, each municipality will hold expert-led workshops in order to prepare a comprehensive risk portfolio following a standardized methodology. Tyrol will share its extensive disaster risk reduction knowledge in the context of the campaign.
7 Feb 2011 News briefs

UN General Assembly to hold first-ever debate on disaster risk reduction

Building on last year’s UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly will convene on Wednesday its first thematic debate on disaster risk reduction to encourage governments to take action and invest more in reducing risk and exposure to disasters. The one-day UN debate on disaster risk reduction is being organized under the auspices of the office of UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss, with support from UNISDR.
8 Feb 2011 News briefs

GA debate stresses need to invest in planning, prevention

Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly said DRR was crucial for protecting progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for achieving sustainable development, at the GA Thematic Debate on DRR on 9 February. Throughout the day, he and other participants called for the enhancement of data collection and the scaling-up of investments in education, better urban planning, the sharing of information and technology, and the raising of awareness, especially to ensure that specific disasters and the needs of victims, remained high on the international agenda long after they had dropped from the news headlines.
9 Feb 2011 News briefs

Philippines reconfirms commitment to safe schools, hospitals

In the wake of recent floods and landslides in the Philippines, which have affected some 600,000 people, the Philippine Government today reconfirmed their commitment to make schools and hospitals in the country’s cities disaster resilient. The commitment, led by the Secretary of Education and Health, follows the pledge by the previous Government in 2009 to make more than 60,000 schools and health facilities in the Philippines safer from disasters. Both Departments of Education and Health committed to inspect all schools and hospitals for disaster vulnerability and to assist in identifying interventions to make them safer within the 2012 government budget.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

Arab region takes steps to reduce disaster risk, endorses Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction

Heads of States welcomed and endorsed the "Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020" in recognition of the increasing risk and frequency of disasters that challenge the development process in the region during the 2nd Summit for Socio Economic Development of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE) held in Egypt in January 2011.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

AU Executive Council endorses report of the 2nd African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

The African Union (AU) Executive Council has endorsed the report of the second African Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). This was done at the 16th African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 25-31 January. The report includes the extended Programme of Action for the implementation of the Africa Strategy for DRR (2006-2015) and the recommendations of the second African Ministerial Declaration on DRR held in Nairobi in April 2010.
11 Feb 2011 Press release

Malaysia commits to maintain safety of cities, schools and hospitals in lead-up to 2011 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Melaka were named Role Model Cities as part of the United Nations-led “Making Resilient Cities” campaign, which was launched during Malaysia’s National Disaster Awareness Day celebrations from 18 to 19 February. These three major Malaysian cities were chosen for their ability to meet and inspire others around the world to take up ten essential actions that reduce disaster risk.
19 Feb 2011 Press release

Pakistan cannot risk its future, lives of people, by being ill-prepared, says top UN disaster official, as country begins rebuilding flood-affected areas

Addressing journalists in Islamabad on 22 February, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, stressed the importance of building resilience to future floods, just as Pakistan embarks on the reconstruction of flood-affected areas following the devastating floods of July 2010.
22 Feb 2011 Press release

Building codes saves lives – main message on anniversary of Chile earthquake and lesson learned from NZ

Strict building codes in Chile, the legacy of a devastating 9.5 magnitude earthquake in 1960, continue to play a large part in protecting people even when an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck 50 near Concepcion on 27 February 2010, says UNISDR. “In earthquake zones, three factors affect our degree of risk: changes to our natural environment, the quality of the built environment around us, and whether awareness and knowledge is widespread enough for us to modify our behaviour in response to these factors,” said Margareta Wahlström, the United Nations' top disaster risk reduction official. “The key to surviving high magnitude quakes is to live and work in seismically safe buildings, while being aware of how nature around us can also change.”
28 Feb 2011 News briefs

Top bodies for disaster risk reduction and climate change in Philippines are “One Against Risk”

On 28 February, the Philippines Climate Change Commission, the country's top body for climate change, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the country’s top body for disaster risk reduction and management, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) to jointly improve community resilience in the Philippines in the face of the looming problems presented by climate change.
28 Feb 2011 News briefs
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