UN-backed disaster resilience campaign tops 2,000 participating cities

Head of the Regional Office for the Americas of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Ricardo Mena. Photo: UNISDR

14 August 2014 – With the addition of Aguas da Prata, Brazil, two thousand cities worldwide are now enrolled in a United Nations global campaign engaging as many local governments as possible to take on the challenge of integrating disaster risk management into their development processes.

The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!, launched in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015, is promoted by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). As it stands now, about 25 per cent of the participating cities are located in the Americas, and approximately 11 per cent (or 226) of all cities are situated in Brazil.

“This growth is due to all sectors, and particularly to the increased prioritization by local governments of disaster risk reduction and resilience building issues,” Ricardo Mena, Head of the Regional Office of UNISDR in the Americas, said in a press release.

The latest city to join the campaign, Aguas da Prata, a municipality of 7,500 people in the state of São Paulo, may be described as a “typical example” of a small community in Brazil where periodic flooding and occasional landslides pose a risk to its inhabitants and development.

Through a programme called “Municipio Verde Azul” (Green Blue Municipality) the state of São Paulo provides financial support, equipment and other benefits to municipalities enrolled in the campaign. Additional support also comes from the city's administrative region of Campinas, where the Director of the Civil Defence team, Sidnei Furtado is a staunch supporter of the campaign.

“The campaign is a great opportunity to change paradigms and contribute to the reorganization of the National System of Protection and Civil Defence. It allows for greater scope and national coordination and strengthens prevention as key to strategic planning in disaster risk reduction,” said Mr. Sidnei Furtado, Director of the Campinas.

Local governments as well as citizens are instrumental in promoting the campaign, Mr. Furtado added, emphasizing that the mayor of Campinas played a “key role in the realization of this work,” but that overall “everyone has played a part to accomplish the final result.”

The worldwide campaign is based on 10 essentials for developing local resilience, which in turn build on the 5 priorities for action of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), adopted by UN Member States for the period 2005-2015.

A post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is expected to be approved at a follow-up conference in March 2015, in Sendai, Japan, emphasizing the need to continue to work to strengthen community resilience, particularly in municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants.


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