Over the past 20 years disasters have affected 4.4 billion people, caused USD 2 trillion of damage and killed 1.3 million people.
Disasters have affected people living in developing countries and, in particular, the most vulnerable communities within these countries.
Particularly in the context of increased urbanization, urban risk continues to rise. The vulnerability of cities to disasters is growing especially as poor people settle in high-risk urban areas. Unfortunately, the planning and development of cities has given little consideration to the consequences of hazards such as earthquakes, hydro-meteorological risks and others. The implication of this reality is the need for countries to focus on creating a safer world for urban dwellers and developing a series of innovative approaches to build resilience.
With the objective of enhancing the capacities of governments and communities to better respond to disasters and reduce risks, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been working on two fronts, (1) providing advanced technologies and applications to reduce disaster impact by monitoring situations before, during and after disasters, while building resilience; (2) providing training opportunities for government officials in the most vulnerable regions to disasters- Latin American and the Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific.
Capacity development is a vital strategy for implementing disaster risk reduction initiatives. UNITAR’s Decentralized Cooperation Programme (DCP) provides training opportunities to government officials at the local and national level to enhance their capacity to reduce disaster risk by:
The CIFAL training centres provide innovative training throughout the world on areas ranging from education to urban planning, disaster preparedness to food security, and climate change among others.
CIFAL Centres specializing on disaster risk management include:
Offers training to local governments from Asia-Pacific on how to integrate climate change adaptation strategies and disaster risk reduction principles into urban planning.
Offers training to local government officials from Latin America on the key role municipalities play in reducing disaster risk and how to create resilient cities.
Offers training to government officials, airport authorities and civil aviation officials on how to better prepare airports and communities from Mexico and Latin America in the event of disasters caused by hurricanes.
Offers opportunities for knowledge exchange among local and regional government officials from Ecuador and Latin America on how to strengthen resilience to disasters and to climate change.
For more information, contact: Estrella Merlos at estrella.merlos< at >unitar.org
Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider