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RIO+20 The Future We Want

RIO+20 the future we want

International Day for Disaster Reduction 2012: Empowering women and girls for a safer tomorrow

13 October, 2012 – The world commemorated the International Day for Disaster Reduction with the theme "Women and Girls: the [in]Visible Force of Resilience", honouring the millions of women and girls that are taking actions to make their communities more resilient to disasters and climate risks, and ensure that they have a better tomorrow.

"This year’s observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction seeks to highlight the need for women and girls to be at the forefront of reducing risk and managing the world’s response to natural hazards", said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Every year, over a 100 million women and girls are affected by disasters, and they play a key role in protecting and rebuilding their communities before and after disasters strike.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction stresses the importance of women and girls as powerful agents of change. They "are empowered to fully contribute to sustainable development through disaster risk reduction, particularly in the areas of environmental and natural resource management; governance; and urban and land use planning and social and economic planning - the key drivers of disaster risk".

Many women and girls are already working on building their communities' resilience to disasters and climate risks. Hiroko Mirura’s life changed with the 2011 tsunami in Japan. She lost her husband, her home and her business. Today, she is mobilizing 400 women in her community, Minamisanriku, to work on processing wakame seaweed.

Flood water inundated Chaluay Kawaonag’s community in the province of Pathum Thani, Thailand. Along with women from 28 neighbouring communities, she prepared food for all the affected households. They are also working on educating people on actions to take to minimize risks in case floods come again.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General also shared what other women are doing in Bangladesh, South Africa, the Bolivian Altiplano and Viet Nam. "Such efforts advance understanding of how communities can benefit from encouraging women to take leadership roles in disaster risk reduction," he said.

Learn more about the International Day for Disaster Reduction