30 Pakistani Cities Join the UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) ‘Resilient Cities’ Campaign

"More than 30 cities across seven provinces in Pakistan signed up to the UNISDR World Disaster Reduction Campaign Making Cities Resilient on Saturday though many of them are still under water or recovering from heavy floods.

Among the cities joining the campaign are Karachi, Muzaffarabad, Dadu, Ghari Khairo, Tharparkar, Nowshera, Mnagora, Charsada, Oghi, Dera Ismail Khan, Loralai, Khudahr, and Ghizar. They have all agreed to commit to the ‘Ten Essentials’ of the campaign including assigning a budget for disaster risk reduction and protecting ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards.

These cities have also pledged to the “One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals” initiative which encourages strengthening the safety of schools and hospitals from all types of natural hazards.

“Schools and hospitals are vital when disasters happen as they need to continue functioning when catastrophes hit. There is no small investment when it comes to these two types of infrastructure - they are crucial.” claimed Wahlström.

Some 870 cities and local government have now joined the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient Campaign and more than 138,000 institutions have already pledged support for the “One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals” initiative.”

Source: UNISDR

First-Ever Survey of People Living with Disabilities in Disaster Zones

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and partners have launched the first-ever survey of people living with disabilities on their coping capacity in the face of a disaster event. Margareta Wahlström, head of UNISDR, said today: “The survey will focus on a major blind spot in disaster management, the needs of the one billion or more people estimated to live with some form of disability.

The survey is accessible online. Its results will be announced on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, October 13.

Further Reading:

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (downloadable in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish)

UNISDR STAG 2015 Report - Science is used for disaster risk reduction

Sunday saw the launch of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group’s 2015 report ‘Science is used for Disaster Risk Reduction’.

The report has been developed over a period of months by the UNISDR STAG and uses examples of how science and technology are assisting in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).  The report authors have also developed a list of recommendations detailing suggestions to facilitate and promote science and technology in the post-2015 DRR framework.

The launch of the report at the WCDRR in Sendai, 15 March 2015.

The report uses case studies from practitioners, NGO’s and others to illustrate how science and technology are already playing a major role in DRR.  Covering both existing and emerging technologies and science from a range of disciplines, these peer reviewed case studies have been collected over a period of 6 months.  

In total, 46 case studies have been published and are all available on the UNISDR / PreventionWeb STAG website here.  They have been developed by private sectors, public sector and NGOs. Of the projects sent to the STAG following our call for evidence based studies including science and technology, the following topics were the most popular:

The below image shows the geographical distribution of the case studies received:

Of the wider collection detailed above, 15 were used within the report itself. These studies represent the wide geographical and thematic coverage. It is hoped that using the case studies will help scientists, policy makers and practitioners to better understand the ways in which science can help with developing DRR strategy and policies.

Please download the full report here 

I’m very tempted to jump on a plane and go to this conference. It’s run by the UNISDR (United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction). It’s basically a conference where politicians, stakeholders, and leaders in DRR gather to discuss and share ideas. 

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is now the world’s foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations.

Key outcomes:    

  • A stronger and more sustainable ISDR movement world-wide that leads to increased responsibility for reinforcing resilience to disasters.
  • A dynamic and trend-setting forum for decision makers, partners, experts and practitioners to announce initiatives, launch products, share information, promote campaigns, and provide evidence around disaster risk reduction.
  • Directions and new alliances for the development and use of new tools and methodologies aimed at understanding and applying the economics and investment in disaster risk reduction.
  • A forum to discuss progress and consult over a post-Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA).
  • Events that follow-up and progress on the 2011 Global Platform (examples may include an update on disaster loss in schools and hospitals, accounting for disaster losses, the status of National Platforms, and progress of the Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction). 
Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013

UNISDR, the UN office for disaster risk reduction, publishes its Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) biennially. 2013’s is entitled From Shared Risk to Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction and was launched in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium in May. It focuses on how public regulation and private investment shape disaster risk.

The report is available for free download in English, French and Spanish. It is accompanied by an educational iPad app with a 3D globe interface displaying disaster events and decades of earth science data sets.

Other Disaster Risk Reduction Resources:

Previous GAR’s

GAR 2013’s Contributing Papers

UNISDR’s Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters


Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction @ Geneva


The UNISDR organized a three day conference in Geneva to discuss a new global framework on how to reduce disaster risk, gathering governments, international organisations, businesses and civil society. Population growth, industrial expansion, rapid uncontrolled urbanization and a rise in extreme weather events are creating new risks never before faced by the world’s populations.

Risk, ecology, government, unisdr, global platform, disaster, geneva

#ROAD2SENDAI of the local people from a tiny farming community is full with ocean of pain and drops of joy. The pain makes them to be prepared for tougher struggle, while the joy keeps them on track to remain committed for successful implementation of Post2015 Framework for DRR.

International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October

13 October is the annual International Day for Disaster Reduction, established by General Assembly resolutions 44/236 and 64/200.

2013’s theme is “Living with Disability and Disasters,” focusing on the approximately one billion people who live with some form of disability, and their vulnerability to disaster.

2013 Observance Links

Secretary-General’s message for 2013 observance

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s survey on living with disabilities and disasters

Background Resources

United Nations Libraries - Disaster Prevention Research Guide

Hyogo Framework of Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters (HFA) (HFA summary chart also available)

Secretary-General’s reports on the implementation of international disaster reduction

A New Way to Communicate

One of Thunderclap’s chief goals is to allow campaign organizers to rally their friends around an important message, cause, or product. Our organizers work hard to generate tons of buzz and launch campaigns that never cease to surprise us with their creativity.

Of course, we always advise campaign organizers to promote their Thunderclaps regularly on social media, email, and through word of mouth leading up to the launch date. (If you’re getting a little sick of seeing tweets from an organizer about their Thunderclap, it probably means they’re doing a good job promoting it!)

But we wanted to give organizers an even more direct way to get in touch with their supporters. Now, supporters can follow any campaign organizer simply by clicking a button.

Anytime an organizer posts a campaign update, all of his or her followers will receive an email. In fact, they’ll receive an entire daily email digest of updates from all of the organizers they follow.

Are you an organizer wondering how you can make the most of this new tool, or supporter wondering what the heck is going to show up in your inbox? Here are the details:

1. Post regular updates about campaign progress. Did you increase your supporter goal? Are you halfway to your goal? Send out an update to get let your supporters know so they can bring their friends on board.

2. Share some news. Are you using your Thunderclap to promote an event? If you’ve secured a special guest, changed venues, added a sponsor, or made any developments, post an update to keep your supporters informed.

3. Ask for help. Provide simple, quantified actions for your supporters that will have a visible impact. For example, ask your supporters to personally tweet at or email five friends and share the link to your campaign page. Encourage them to share what your campaign means to them, and invite their friends to lend their support. This is an effective way to increase your numbers, and if you go about it in a respectful way, it won’t seem spammy or disingenuous.

4. Just say thanks. This one’s easy and often overlooked. Posting an update to thank your supporters for their interest and help in spreading the word is an simple and meaningful gesture. Plus, your supporters will be excited to see your thoughtful message in their inboxes.

Check out these examples from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR),  Voter Participation Center, and the I Am Happy Project for inspiration.

And stay tuned. We’ve got some cool stuff to make it easier for organizers and supporters to stay in touch coming down the pipeline.

Have you used updates as an organizer? Have you received an email digest as a supporter? Share your thoughts or tips with the Thunderclap community. Leave a comment on this post or send a tweet to @ThunderclapIt.

The UN has designated 13 October as the date to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. The objective of the observance is to raise awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.

Last week, the fifth annual European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) was held in Madrid. One of the major topics discussed was the recurrence of flooding, and the challenges it presents for disaster reduction.

In December, Britain’s southeast coast suffered some of its worst storms on record, said Steven Barnes, policy officer, UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat. Heavy rain had been predicted in December and January, but the storms combined with high tides, strong winds and a sea surge to flood coastal areas.  Nevertheless, compared with 1953, when similar weather conditions were recorded, the damage was comparatively light. Damage 60 years ago is estimated at £1.2 billion at today’s prices against £400 million this time. Then some 24,000 properties were flooded compared to just over 2,500 in the latest storms.  “We estimate that the flood defences protected some 800,000 properties,” Barnes said, which illustrates the value of investing in prevention. “(Government) Ministers could see that if you spend on prevention, what you get in the end is less money spent on response and recovery,” he said. 

But some delegates noted that prevention investment involves immediate costs, while the benefits can be long term. This can be a problem for politicians. In Britain and elsewhere, insurance is increasingly being linked to action on prevention. Unless steps are taken to prevent flooding, insurers will not extend cover to people living in areas at risk. The problem in many countries is that it is the government that pays up for flood damage and this also discourages people from insuring against risk.

This year the focus of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is on older people. The day highlights the need for a more inclusive approach for older people in disaster risk reduction. It recognizes the critical role they can play in better planning and understanding disaster risk, and how they can help with resilience-building in their communities through their experience and knowledge.

More information as well as images of the UN’s activities around this year’s observance is available here 

From today’s press release…

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström, today urged UN Member States to face up to the realities of the economic and human impact of disasters since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro twenty years ago.

"I hope that this month’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development will take on board the losses this planet has suffered in the twenty years since the last such conference. During that time we have seen record economic losses, great numbers of people killed and billions displaced, injured or homeless because of growing exposure to extreme events fuelled by rapid urbanisation, poverty, environmental degradation, climate change and a lack of good governance.

"The numbers tell the story. Over the last twenty years, it is conservatively estimated that disasters have killed 1.3 million people, affected 4.4 billion and resulted in economic losses of $2 trillion. These are staggering numbers when you consider what it means in terms of missed opportunities, shattered lives, lost housing, schools and health facilities destroyed, cultural losses and roads washed away.

"We can do better. The Rio+20 Conference needs to put down a marker and introduce time-bound, realistic sustainable development goals which will eradicate this enormous waste of human, social and economic resources. We know how to do it. We have the tools.

"All UN Member States have endorsed the Hyogo Framework for Action which spells out what the priorities are in terms of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation but we need to accelerate action. This is especially important in the absence of any meaningful progress in tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s have action. Disaster risk reduction saves lives and livelihoods and builds resilience."