United Nations

A/RES/44/236


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 December 1989

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                       A/RES/44/236
                                                       85th plenary meeting
                                                       22 December 1989
 
          International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
 
     The General Assembly,
 
     Recalling its resolution 42/169 of 11 December 1987, in which it decided
to designate the 1990s as a decade in which the international community, under
the auspices of the United Nations, would pay special attention to fostering
international co-operation in the field of natural disaster reduction,
 
     Bearing in mind the relevant provisions of its resolution 42/169 and its
resolution 43/202 of 20 December 1988, and taking note of Economic and Social
Council resolution 1989/99 of 26 July 1989, in which the Council recommended
that the General Assembly take action to develop an appropriate framework for
international co-operation to attain the objective and goals of the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction,
 
     Considering that natural disasters have adversely affected the lives of a
great number of people and caused considerable damage to infrastructure and
property world wide, especially in developing countries,
 
     Recognizing the importance of environmental protection for the prevention
and mitigation of natural disasters,
 
     Considering that the international community as a whole has now improved
its capacity to confront this problem, and that fatalism about natural
disasters is no longer justified,
 
     Recognizing the necessity for the international community to demonstrate
the strong political determination required to mobilize and use existing
scientific and technical knowledge to mitigate natural disasters, bearing in
mind in particular the needs of developing countries,
 
     Recognizing also the important responsibility of the United Nations
system as a whole for promoting international co-operation in order to
mitigate natural disasters, provide assistance and co-ordinate disaster
relief, preparedness and prevention,
 
     Recalling the specific responsibilities and functions in the field of
disaster prevention and preparedness entrusted to the Office of the United
Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator, as set out in its resolution 2816 (XXVI)
of 14 December 1971,
 
     Bearing in mind the crucial role of professional and other
non-governmental organizations, particularly scientific and technological
societies, humanitarian groups and investment institutions, the participation
of which in the implementation of specific programmes planned for the Decade
is highly desirable,
 
     Also bearing in mind the need for the United Nations system to pay
special attention to the least developed, land-locked and island developing
countries in that regard,
 
     Emphasizing that appropriate emergency planning for natural disasters and
its integration in national development plans could also be very helpful in
preventing other kinds of disasters, such as those of an industrial or
technological nature,
 
     Taking note, with appreciation, of the report of the Secretary-General,
 
     Expressing its appreciation for the work done by the International Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction,
which submitted its report to the Secretary-General,
 
     Bearing in mind the common position on natural disasters of the Ninth
Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held at
Belgrade from 4 to 7 September 1989,
 
     1.   Proclaims the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction,
beginning on 1 January 1990;
 
     2.   Decides to designate the second Wednesday of October International
Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, to be observed annually during the Decade
by the international community in a manner befitting the objective and goals
of the Decade;
 
     3.   Adopts the International Framework of Action for the International
Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction contained in the annex to the present
resolution;
 
     4.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at
its forty-fifth session a progress report on the implementation of the present
resolution, including the organizational arrangements made for the Decade, and
on the status of existing international protocols and conventions for mutual
assistance in cases of disaster;
 
     5.   Also requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution
to the attention of all Governments, intergovernmental organizations,
appropriate non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the
Economic and Social Council and competent scientific institutions in the field
of disaster mitigation;
 
     6.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its forty-sixth
session an item entitled "International Decade for Natural Disaster
Reduction".
 
                                   ANNEX
           International Framework of Action for the International
                    Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
 
                           A.  Objective and goals
 
1.   The objective of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
is to reduce through concerted international action, especially in developing
countries, the loss of life, property damage and social and economic
disruption caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, windstorms,
tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, grasshopper and
locust infestations, drought and desertification and other calamities of
natural origin.
 
2.   The goals of the Decade are:
 
     (a)  To improve the capacity of each country to mitigate the effects of
natural disasters expeditiously and effectively, paying special attention to
assisting developing countries in the assessment of disaster damage potential
and in the establishment of early warning systems and disaster-resistant
structures when and where needed;
 
     (b)  To devise appropriate guidelines and strategies for applying
existing scientific and technical knowledge, taking into account the cultural
and economic diversity among nations;
 
     (c)  To foster scientific and engineering endeavours aimed at closing
critical gaps in knowledge in order to reduce loss of life and property;
 
     (d)  To disseminate existing and new technical information related to
measures for the assessment, prediction and mitigation of natural disasters;
 
     (e)  To develop measures for the assessment, prediction, prevention and
mitigation of natural disasters through programmes of technical assistance and
technology transfer, demonstration projects, and education and training,
tailored to specific disasters and locations, and to evaluate the
effectiveness of those programmes.
 
            B.  Policy measures to be taken at the national level
 
3.   All Governments are called upon:
     (a)  To formulate national disaster-mitigation programmes, as well as
economic, land use and insurance policies for disaster prevention, and,
particularly in developing countries, to integrate them fully into their
national development programmes;
 
     (b)  To participate during the Decade in concerted international action
for the reduction of natural disasters and, as appropriate, establish national
committees in co-operation with the relevant scientific and technological
communities and other concerned sectors with a view to attaining the objective
and goals of the Decade;
 
     (c)  To encourage their local administrations to take appropriate steps
to mobilize the necessary support from the public and private sectors and to
contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the Decade;
 
     (d)  To keep the Secretary-General informed of the plans of their
countries and of assistance that can be provided so that the United Nations
may become an international centre for the exchange of information and the
co-ordination of international efforts concerning activities in support of the
objective and goals of the Decade, thus enabling each State to benefit from
the experience of other countries;
 
     (e)  To take measures, as appropriate, to increase public awareness of
damage risk probabilities and of the significance of preparedness, prevention,
relief and short-term recovery activities with respect to natural disasters
and to enhance community preparedness through education, training and other
means, taking into account the specific role of the news media;
 
     (f)  To pay due attention to the impact of natural disasters on health
care, particularly to activities to reduce the vulnerability of hospitals and
health centres, as well as the impact on food storage facilities, human
shelter and other social and economic infrastructures;
 
     (g)  To improve the early international availability of appropriate
emergency supplies through the storage or earmarking of such supplies in
disaster-prone areas.
 
4.   Scientific and technological institutions, financial institutions,
including banks and insurance companies, and industrial enterprises,
foundations and other related non-governmental organizations are encouraged to
support and participate fully in the programmes and activities of the Decade
prepared and implemented by the international community, including
Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations.
 
             C.  Action to be taken by the United Nations system
 
5.   The organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system are
urged to accord priority, as appropriate and in a concerted manner, to natural
disaster preparedness, prevention, relief and short-term recovery, including
economic damage risk assessment, in their operational activities; the
Secretary-General is requested, in this regard, to ensure that adequate means
are made available to the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief
Co-ordinator so that it may diligently discharge its specific role and
responsibilities in the field of disaster mitigation and response in
conformity with its mandate, as contained in General Assembly resolution
2816 (XXVI).
 
6.   The Secretary-General is requested, in close association with the
relevant organizations of the United Nations system, in particular through the
Department of Public Information of the Secretariat, as well as national
information authorities, to assist in the formulation and implementation
during the Decade of public information programmes aimed at raising public
awareness of disaster prevention.
 
7.   The United Nations resident co-ordinators and the field representatives
of the United Nations system are requested to work closely and in a
co-ordinated manner with Governments to achieve the objective and goals of the
Decade.
 
8.   The regional commissions are urged to play an active role in implementing
the activities of the Decade, considering that natural disasters often
transcend national boundaries.
 
9.   The Secretary-General is requested to designate the Director-General for
Development and International Economic Co-operation, in accordance with his
mandate as set out in General Assembly resolution 32/197 of 20 December 1977,
as the focal point for overview and co-ordination of the programmes and
activities of the United Nations system referred to in the present resolution,
in close co-operation with the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief
Co-ordinator and, as appropriate, in consultation with the Director of the
secretariat of the Decade, mentioned in paragraph 14 of the present annex.
 
10.  The Secretary-General is requested to report biennially to the General
Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, on the activities of the
Decade.
              D.  Organizational arrangements during the Decade
                        1.  Special high-level council
 
11.  The Secretary-General is requested to establish, with due regard to
equitable geographical representation, a special high-level council,
consisting of a limited number of internationally prominent persons, which
would provide him with general advice with respect to the Decade, take
appropriate action to promote public awareness and mobilize the necessary
support from the public and private sectors.
 
            2.  Scientific and technical committee on the International
                Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
 
12.  The Secretary-General is requested to establish, with due regard to
equitable geographical representation and covering the diversity of
disaster-mitigation issues, a scientific and technical committee on the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, consisting of twenty to
twenty-five scientific and technical experts selected in consultation with
their Governments on the basis of their personal capacities and
qualifications, including experts from the organs, organizations and bodies of
the United Nations system.
 
13.  The role of the committee shall be to develop overall programmes to be
taken into account in bilateral and multilateral co-operation for the Decade,
paying attention to priorities and gaps in technical knowledge identified at
the national level, in particular by national committees, as well as to assess
and evaluate the activities carried out in the course of the Decade and to
make recommendations on the overall programmes in an annual report to the
Secretary-General.
                               3.  Secretariat
 
14.  The Secretary-General is requested to establish a small secretariat, to
be funded by extrabudgetary resources, as follows:
 
     (a)  The secretariat shall be established at the United Nations Office at
Geneva, in close association with the Office of the United Nations Disaster
Relief Co-ordinator, with its members drawn, as appropriate, from the
international community of disaster reduction experts and other relevant
experts seconded, inter alia, from competent United Nations organizations,
Governments and non-governmental organizations;
 
     (b)  The secretariat shall be responsible for the day-to-day
co-ordination of Decade activities and shall provide substantive and
secretarial support to the special high-level council and the scientific and
technical committee, as well as for other related activities.
 
                          E.  Financial arrangements
 
15.  It is recommended that extrabudgetary resources be provided for
implementation of the activities of the Decade and, therefore, that voluntary
contributions from Governments, international organizations and other sources,
including the private sector, be strongly encouraged; to this end, a trust
fund shall be established by the Secretary-General, who will be entrusted with
its administration.
                                  F.  Review
 
16.  The Economic and Social Council, during its second regular session of
1994, will carry out a mid-term review of the implementation of the
International Framework of Action for the International Decade for Natural
Disaster Reduction and report its findings to the General Assembly.