By resolution 44/236 (22 December 1989), the General Assembly designated the second Wednesday of October International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. The International Day was to be observed annually during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 1990-1999.
By resolution 64/200 of 21 December 2009 the General Assembly decided to designate 13 October as the date to commemorate the Day and to change the Day's name to International Day for Disaster Reduction. The objective of the observance is to raise awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.
At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the international community was reminded that disasters hit hardest at the local level with the potential to cause loss of life and great social and economic upheaval. Sudden onset disasters displace millions of people every year. In 2014, 19.3 million people were newly displaced by disasters. Disasters, many of which are exacerbated by climate change, have a negative impact on investment in sustainable development and the desired outcomes.
It is also at the local level that capacities need to be strengthened urgently. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is people-focussed and action-oriented in its approach to disaster risk reduction and applies to the risk of small-scale and large-scale disasters caused by man-made or natural hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.