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Www.unisdr.org 1 Guro Sørnes Kjerschow UN/ISDR secretariat West Asia and North Africa www.unisdr.org Urban Risk Reduction An Inherent Element of Sustainable.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.unisdr.org 1 Guro Sørnes Kjerschow UN/ISDR secretariat West Asia and North Africa www.unisdr.org Urban Risk Reduction An Inherent Element of Sustainable."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Guro Sørnes Kjerschow UN/ISDR secretariat West Asia and North Africa Urban Risk Reduction An Inherent Element of Sustainable Development in Arab Cities Amman, 27. – 29. April 2009

2 2 Outline 1.What is UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR)? 2.What is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)? 3.Disaster Risk Reduction & Sustainable Urban Development 4. Urban Risk Factors of Arab Towns 5. Recommendations 6.Urban Risk Reduction activities of UNISDR WANA 7.Upcoming UNISDR Events

3 What is United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction? UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) is a secretariat in the UN System. It is responsible to promote incorporation and coordination of disaster reduction activities in the field of sustainable development. The partner organizations and institutions of UN/ISDR are the members of the ISDR system, containing other UN organizations, NGOs and governments.

4 What is United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction? UNISDR was established in 2000 following the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR 1990 – 1999) In 2004 and 2005 UNISDR led the negotiations between all UN member states in the development of the document Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005 – 2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. The HFA is the guiding document for implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction and defining the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders. UNISDR opened a regional office in Cairo in 2007

5 What is United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction? UNISDR works along four tracks 1. Governance: Ensure that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a national and local priority with a strong institutional basis for implementation. 2. Early warning systems: Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance early warning. 3. Communication and advocacy: Use knowledge, innovation and education to raise awareness of Disaster Risk Reduction at all levels. 4. Prevention, Preparedness, Response: Reduce the underlying risk factors and strengthen disaster preparedness for effective response at all levels.

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8 8 2. What is Disaster Risk Reduction? Disaster Risk Reduction is a method or tool to reduce the impacts of natural and human-made hazards. Such as tsunamis, earth-quakes, landslides, and climate change related events such as droughts, storms and sea level rise. Disaster Risk Reduction is a strategic approach with technical components. Such as land-use planning, infrastructure planning, education, preparedness and response. Disaster Risk Reduction can not prevent hazards from taking place, but we can reduce the impacts of hazards.

9 What is Disaster Risk Reduction? Risk is a real or potential threat of a disaster that can lead to major loss of life, livelihoods and infrastructure. Disaster is the impact of a hazard. The causes of disasters are we, the human beings; the way we build societies, how we live in vulnerable environments and how we put pressure on the environment. Assistant Secretary General of UNISDR Margareta Wahlstrom Vulnerability relates to the ability of individuals, social groups and societies to plan for, adapt to and address risk factors, and recover after a disaster has occurred. Example Kobe vs Bam Disaster Risk Reduction in urban areas is Urban Risk Reduction

10 10 Earthquake in Kobe (Japan), 17 January 1995 Magnitude: 6.8 on Richter's scale Lost lives: ca 6,500 (0.43% of total population) Population prior to earthquake: 1.5 mill Strong engineering standards reduced losses However, if the planning for social systems to identify vulnerable groups and help in response, relief and reconstruction the losses could have been even less.

11 11 Image from downtown Kobe after earthquake 1995 Photo: Wikipedia

12 12 Earthquake in Bam (Iran), 26. December 2003 Magnitude: 6.5 on Richter's scale Lost lives: 26,271 (61% of total population) Total population prior to earthquake: 43,000 UN and IFRC appealed $ 75 million in relief assistance. 85 – 90 % of buildings and infrastructure in the Bam area were either damaged or destroyed. Bam experienced rapid urban growth the years prior to the 2003 earthquake, most of the newly built houses and the old mud brick buildings did not comply with earthquake regulations set in Iran in 1989.

13 13 Before The 2000 year old Citadel in Bam (Iran), the worlds largest mud fortress before the earthquake in Photo: Wikipedia

14 14 After Bam after earthquake December 26, 2003 Photo: Marty Bahamonde/FEMA

15 Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Urban Development Disasters do not only cause loss of lives, but result in major economic setbacks: livelihoods have to start from beginning, houses and infrastructure have to be rebuilt. Many years of investment can disappear in a moment. Sustainable development incorporates risk of disasters in the planning and implementing process. Land-use planning and safe building construction are key elements of urban planning and also the main tools for integrating DRR in urban planning

16 Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Urban Development Appropriate and sound urban planning and standards, with disaster risk reduction measures incorporated, are central in averting or mitigating the impact of natural hazards and climate changes, and are key to sustainable growth of cities. It is especially important to emphasize disaster risk reduction in cities because of the large amount of people living there and the degree of seriousness of disasters when they strike, especially if not planned for.

17 Urban Risk Factors of Arab Towns Rapid urban growth due to population growth, rural- urban migration and settlement of displaced persons; refugees of war and climate change. Rapid growth of unplanned urban areas, slums and shantytowns. Huge areas of old building mass with historical value that are not restored or properly secured for hazards.

18 Urban Risk Factors of Arab Towns Natural hazards: earthquakes and landslides, mudslides and rockslides. Climate change increases the intensity of floods, storms, droughts and heath waves. Increase stress on water availability, intensified by climate change.

19 Urban Risk Factors of Arab Towns Climate change will result in sea level rise. It is very important that urban planners take sea level rise into consideration when planning for future construction, but also to safeguarding existing settlements, buildings and infrastructures. World Bank, in cooperation with amongst others The Arab Academy in Egypt, has initiated a project on climate change adaptation in the coastal cities of Alexandria, Tunis and Casablanca. Long-term urban planning is a central part of the Adaptation Action Plan that the World Bank will prepare.

20 20 “Without human intervention to prevent catastrophe, a 50 cm increase is predicted to displace over two million people, destroy 214,000 jobs and cost over US$ 35 billion in the costal area between Alexandria and Port Said” State of African Cities 2008 UNHABITAT report

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22 Recommendations Urban risk reduction has to be incorporated in urban development plans as a legal framework for private investors and public urban developers. To achieve this: - Urban risk reduction needs to become a political priority - Urban risk reduction needs to draw on scientific knowledge and capacity - Urban risk reduction needs to be supported by public awareness

23 UNISDR WANA contribution to Urban Risk Reduction Establish a working group of regional urban development stakeholders: -To exchange experience and knowledge in the region, but also to meet with representatives from other regions -Raise awareness of local governments and encourage active role of local governments in implementing DRR activities -Contribute to a report on best practices in the region -This regional working group will link up to a global network, the Local Government Alliance, already established by UNISDR Produce a status report on Urban Risk Reduction in the Arab region

24 Upcoming UNISDR Events Launch of Global Assessment Report, May in Bahrain The second regional conference on DRR and implementation of HFA, May in Jeddah Global Platform, the second global conference on DRR and implementation of HFA, June in Geneva International Conference, Building Local Resilience to Disasters: Challenges and Opportunities, August in Incheon, South Korea

25 25 Thank you United Nations, secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport Higher Education Complex Bldg. Block 1167 Off Mosheer Ahmed Ismaeel Street, 3rd floor P.O. Box Masaken Sheraton Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt Tel: +(2 02) /3/4 Fax: +(20 2) More information contact: Guro Sornes Kjerschow


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