Local governments are the first line of defence and the first line responders when disaster occurs. With the current rapid urbanization in cities, the rise in economic growth, and the increase of assests in urban areas, it is critical for local government to prepare and develop disaster risk management strategies and plan to effectively respond to disasters triggered by natural hazards.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was adopted in the Third World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, provides a strong guidance to support national and local efforts to build resilience to disasters within the context of sustainable development. Understanding disaster risk requires building awareness and knowledge of disaster risk through training and education among government officials, civil society, and other stakeholders.
At the third UN WCDRR, the Local Governments major group stressed that despite theprogress made over the last 10 years and despite registering more than 2,000 cities in the Making Resilient Cities Campaign since 2010, local governments still need technical and institutional capacity assistance to make disaster risk reduction an essential part of their planning and programs. It was noted as urgent call to national governemnts and international agencies to continue empowering local authorities as well as supporting local actions and learnings to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Canary Islands are an autonomous region of Spain prone to a range of risks including tropical storms, floods, volcanic eruptions, and fires. The risk of economic losses due to disasters is high on the Canaries, as 87% of the economy of the islands depends on tourism. Local Governments in the Canary Islands face the challenges of the effects of natural hazards. In 2014, 14 million tourists visited the Canary Islands. In view of this, it is critical that disaster management planning takes into account how to address issues of having visitors who rarely speak the local language and have very little awareness of local risks.
Since 2013 Lanzarote took the lead to join the resilient cities campaign, this process was consolidated with the “Statement of the Resilient Canary Islands” at the Dialogue on Resilient Cities held in 2014. Furthermore, in 2014, with the leadership of the University of La Laguna, the local governments of Canary Islands in partnership with UNISDR and the Federation of Municipalities organized an International Dialogue on Making Cities Resilient. As result, 81 municipalities of the Canaries joined the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient Campaign and signed the declaration of “Canarias Resiliente.” This declaration lists the steps that the municipalities will take to increase local resilience. In addition, the declaration calls for action in preparation for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to continue the development of resilient cities. The implementation of the Campaign has been supported by Tenerife’s University of La Laguna –Making Cities Resilient Campaign partner with 30,000 students – which has established a dedicated Department of Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Canary Islands have made considerable progress in disaster risk reduction after their local governments joined the Making Resilient Cities Campaign. Furthermore, several multi-stakeholders’ local self-assessments were undertaken. As a result, the 2020 Canary Islands Resilient Strategy has been developed, which includes 8 commitments. Today, 32 municipalities of Tenerife are implementing the Strategy. Next steps are to articulate the 2020 Canary Islands Strategy with the Sendai and initiation of Cities Plans will take place as one of their priorities. As a direct follow-up action towards the implementation of the Sendai Framework and the Resilient Cities Campaign in Europe, the Government and the Consortium of Security and Emergencies of Lanzarote, UNISDR Regional Office for Europe and the UNISDR Global Education and Training Institute (GETI) organized this workshop aiming to enhance the capacity of technical staff from local communities. Trained staffers are expected to engage all stakeholders that play an active role in the development and implementation of the Resilient Cities Action Plans. At the same time, these plans will help to achieve the main objectives of the ‘Estrategia Canarias resiliente Horizonte 2020’ or the 2020 Canary Islands Resilience Strategy’ to improve resilience.
- Increase political commitment and social demand for disaster resilient development, adapted for climate change, aiming for sustainable development.
- Increase engagement of national actors in the field of national development and planning with the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation agenda and enhance country planners and decision makers’ ability and commitment to promote disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation through relevant systems, policies and processes.
- Learn about the Making Cities Resilient Global Campaign and how its tools, materials and approaches may be used to build local resilience to disasters.
- Building capacities of experts and officials at local level with a focus on City Resilience Action Plans development and implementation based on MCR Campaign 10 Essentials to make their cities resilient to disasters.
- Trained cadres of national and city level officials
- Draft City Resilience Assessment Report
- Draft City Resilience Action Plans.
Summary of the training sessions
Module 1: Finding a common language and Introduction of trends in urban risk and risk reduction
Module 2: Introducing Making Cities Resilient (MCR) Global Campaign and Campaign Tools. MCR Campaign 10 Essentials with Case Studies.
Module 3: Applying the MCR Tools Assessment and Diagnosis. Using Local Government Self-Assessment Tool
Module 4: Development and Implementation of a City Land Use Management Plan; Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Reduction into Development and Sectoral Programmes for Socio-Economic Development with Case Studies on Following Sectors: Climate Change Adaptation and Housing, Critical Info-structure, Governance, Livelihood Protection, Health Sector Rehabilitating Ecosystems, Environment and Financing Disaster Recovery
Module 5: Developing and Implementing Safe and Resilient City Action Plan
Module 6: City Action Plan Monitoring, Evaluation and Follow Up.
Module 7: Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030
Lanzarote stands out because its collaboration with the Academia, the government and the consortium of security and emergencies and the municipalities in the area of preparedness. The island of Lanzarote is fully committed to translate the draft action plan into a real action plan and to continue the lead of these training efforts in the Canary Archipelago to build more resilience in each community.
90 cadres of city level officials from the Canary Archipelago received training capacity. Furthermore, the University of La Laguna as a partner of the Making Resilient Cities Campaign will use ONEA-GETI materials for the forthcoming online course on Assessment disaster risk reduction – threats and vulnerabilities in the XXI Century.