UN disaster reduction office launches initiative to help cities manage risk

In Bangladesh, an innovative “disaster resilient village” was built in Shymnagar for a coastal village wiped out after Cyclone Aila. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh/Nasif Ahmed

18 April 2012 – The United Nations office for disaster risk reduction today launched a new initiative to help cities across the world manage risk following the worst year on record for economic losses caused by disasters.

The initiative – the ‘Local Government Self-Assessment Tool’ – is part of the campaign to help cities establish baselines, identify planning and investment gaps for risk reduction and climate change adaptation, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) said in a press release.

“Cities and towns are on the frontline of disaster risk reduction and bore the brunt of insured economic losses from disasters last year of $380 billion,” said Helena Molin Valdés, the Director of the ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign, which aims to reduce urban risks from climate-related disasters.

Ms. Valdés said the new tool would greatly enrich understanding of the challenges ahead as the world considers a new blueprint for disaster risk reduction once the existing plan, the Hyogo Framework for Action, expires in 2015. The Framework – a global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts – was adopted by governments in 2005 and aims to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015.

Some 133 countries have been reporting at the national level on their progress on disaster risk reduction priorities agreed on in the Hyogo Framework. The new local government tool would enable municipalities to submit data for national progress reports for the first time. The tool has been tested in over 20 cities around the world.

UNISDR also announced that over 1,000 cities have now joined the ‘Making Cities Resilient’ campaign, which is creating a widening network of alliances for disaster risk reduction. There are currently 25 partners working with UNISDR to support the campaign, including the Local Governments for Sustainability, which has a membership of over 1,200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations worldwide.


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