Throughout 2010-2020 and beyond, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient Campaign (MCRC), together with partners, aim to support sustainable urban development by promoting resilience activities and increasing local level understanding of disaster risk. A ten-point checklist of essentials for making cities resilient serves as a guide for a city’s commitment toward improving their resilience and is the organizing principle for reporting and monitoring during the campaign.
The campaign’s principal target groups are mayors and local government leaders of cities and towns of different sizes, characteristics, locations and risk profiles. Besides mayors and local government leaders, the campaign is also calling on civil society, planners and urban professionals, as well as national authorities and community groups to develop innovative solutions and engage with local governments to reduce disaster risks.
Cities are the lifelines of today’s society. They serve as a nations’ economic engine, being centres of technology and innovation, and are living evidence of our cultural heritage. However, cities can also become generators of new risks: failed infrastructure and services, environmental urban degradation, along with influencing the increasing of informal settlements with almost a billion slum dwellers around the world today despite all efforts. This makes many urban citizens more vulnerable to natural hazards.
Local governments are the institutional and politically responsible body at the local level. They are often the first responders to citizens’ needs (and complaints), provide basic services and oversight, engage in urban development and manage emergencies and disaster risk. Thus they need knowledge, tools, capacities and resources to act on these responsibilities. They need to understand how making cities resilient can help them deliver better on their many responsibilities. Local governments are often forgotten as targets by national and international community when policies are set and resources become available.
Overall, the campaign seeks to achieve resilient and sustainable urban communities by urging local governments to take immediate action, and to build multi-stakeholder partnerships to accomplish this. The objectives of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign are threefold, and can be achieved through building long-lasting partnerships to:
- Know more, by raising awareness of citizens and governments at all levels of the benefits of reducing urban risks.
- Invest wisely, by identifying budget allocations within local government funding plans to invest in disaster risk reduction activities.
- Build more safely, by including disaster risk reduction in participatory urban development planning processes and protecting critical infrastructure.
We can achieve these goals and objectives by engaging mayors and local governments around the world, urging them to sign up to the campaign in committing to reducing risk in a number of different ways. This includes working towards meeting the goals set out in the Ten Essentials checklist; creating local partnerships and alliances with citizens and community groups, and; organizing public hearings, drills and other awareness-raising activities.
The campaign also suggests a variety of concrete steps and activities that can be taken by other partners in disaster risk reduction, such as by local government associations, national governments, academia, donors, the private sector, as well as international, regional and Non-Governmental Organizations. These stake-holders and citizens can all be engaged in the process of urban risk reduction and resilience, where specific actions are taken to identify, manage and lessen the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards. Such partners play an important role in the leverage of the Campaign, as well as contribute to the achievement of resilient and sustainable urban communities.
There are many reasons for a mayor and the local government to prioritize resilience as part of their political and sustainable development agenda, as well as to take actions to reduce disaster risk. The benefits of these actions are multiple:
- Leaving a legacy of leadership to protect people and assets;
- Building more livable and prosperous communities, towns and cities;
- Using the basis of resilience and risk awareness as a model for active citizen engagement and a platform for local development;
- Promoting economic growth and job creation by assuring investors of responsible government policies that take action towards the compliance of safety standards;
- Participating in a global, inter-connected network of local, national, regional and international expertise and knowledge base of disaster risk reduction and resilience resources.
The UNISDR secretariat is the overall coordinator of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign. However, participating city and local governments along with local, regional and international partners are the main drivers and owners of the campaign. UN-HABITAT, with its broader World Urban Campaign, is a key partner in this campaign and is the current chair of the MCRC Steering Committee. Other key partners include UN organizations (UNOPS, UNDP, OECD, UNESCO, UNICEF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), city associations and organizations such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and CityNet, among others. NGO networks, grassroots organizations and other partners are also very much so engaged in the campaign.
The campaign was officially launched in May, 2010, and will continue through to year-end 2020. The momentum gained during the first phase of the campaign (2010-2015) will continue in assisting to sustain and mainstream disaster risk reduction into the long run. Through participation in the campaign, we expect a large number of cities and local governments to include disaster risk reduction as an integral component of their local development plans, with a view to facilitating the advancement of the goals of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by 2020.
From 2010 to 2011, success was measured through the number of mayors and local governments joining and committing to the cause. As of 2012, the campaign’s success has also been measured by the number of partnerships and alliances developed by different stakeholders at the local level, as well as the actual progress made by participating cities and local governments in each of the Ten Essentials through the Local Government Self-Assessment Tool (LG-SAT). To date, over 1,000 cities have reported their actions on disaster risk reduction through the LG-SAT. Following the LG-SAT's release in 2012, a more advanced assessment tool known as City Resilience Scorecard was developed and released in 2014, providing a more in depth analysis of local actions corresponding to level of risks, assisting cities to identify gaps and create action plans. Now, post-adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), the Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient have been revised by partners to correspond with implementing the framework at the local level, learning from both the LG-SAT and City Resilience Scorecard. The Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient assessment tool builds upon the previous, providing an in-depth and comprehensive assessment tool, that is both applicable to all, and most importantly, actionable allowing for cities to create effective and implementable local resilience action plans.
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Local governments and cities play an active role in the campaign, both as advocates and drivers of disaster risk reduction implementation at the local and international levels. A number of committed mayors, champions and role model cities have been identified through this process and help UNISDR and its partners to promote and implement the campaign.
Cities and local governments are invited by UNISDR and its partners to join the campaign, either by becoming a participating city of local government, or through becoming a champion or role model city. Please refer to the sign-up page for more information on how to join to the "Making Cities Resilient" Campaign.
All participating cities and local governments are expected to take an active role in the campaign, especially within their own cities and towns. They should be willing to contribute know-how, resources and provide overall support to the campaign within their reach and capacity. For more information on the typical profile of a champion, a role model and a participating city, please refer to the relevant guidelines and the Terms of Reference.
No. All of the above designations are considered voluntary and non-remunerated.
In addition to taking a major step towards building the safety and resilience of your city or local community, by participating in the campaign you will also benefit from increased visibility and exposure to international experts and other leaders in this area, and be able to share good practices, lessons learned and experience in this particular area. Participating cities and local governments will also be encouraged to host conferences, workshops and city-to-city learning events in the context of the campaign, with support from the UNISDR secretariat.
Of course! If you are a city or a local government that is in early stages of risk reduction planning and management, you are especially encouraged to join the campaign by pledging to improve resilience to disasters against one (or more) of the Ten Essentials for city resilience.
If you are a community group, NGO or other active member of your city or community who wants to commit to and support the campaign goals, you may also take part in the Campaign as an advocate or a partner.
Local government officials, technical institutions and other partners are encouraged to send nomination proposals to UNISDR, with a clear indication of why this city / local government could serve as Champion or a Role Model in the campaign. All nominations should be submitted by e-mail to email@example.com through the relevant nomination form.