Local and regional governments at the heart of disaster risk reduction strategies

3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

In March 2015, United Nations (UNISDR) will organize the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which will take place in Sendai, Japan. In recent years, this topic has taken on great importance within UCLG, since it is directly linked to the issues of development, climate change and urban planning, among others. UCLG, along with  ICLEI, will have an important role to play in the Conference, working to ensure mobilisation, participation and the involvement of local and regional governments. 

Disaster risk reduction indicates the possibility of disaster, in terms of lives, health status, livelihoods, assets and services, which may occur at the heart of a community or society in the future. (UNISDR)

Local governments have an important role to play in disaster risk reduction (DRR), as well as in raising awareness and consciousness among their citizens in order to reduce risks, by ensuring the provision of essential services and their proximity to citizens. The decentralization of political and technical powers is therefore a prerequisite that is vital in giving local authorities the means to act.

In an increasingly urbanising world, the concentration of populations living in cities considerably increases the impact of disasters on citizens, as well as on material assets and the economy in general. This was demonstrated by the disasters in Istanbul, Kobe, Manila, Mexico and New Orleans.

Natural disasters are often extremely costly. Moreover, cities that are not prepared take much longer to recover, both on an economic and a humanitarian level. Thus, investing in risk reduction allows both local and national authorities to spend less in the aftermath. It is estimated that each dollar invested in prevention is equivalent to at least four dollars spent after a crisis. 

The challenges of the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

On the basis of the  Hyogo Framework for Action,, the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will take place in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, during which a new Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA2) for the next ten years will be drawn up.

The World Conference will aim to review the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, to showcase risk reduction strategies implemented at regional and national levels, and to adopt a post-2015 framework for action.

For more information, please visit: www.wcdrr.org

Read the UCLG Briefing note: