UNITAR Newsletter


The CIFAL Global Network is UNITAR's network of International Training Centres, dedicated to provide innovative training to strengthen the capacities of government officials and leaders to advance sustainable development. Our CIFAL centers are jointly managed with 14 partner institutions and deliver some 70 training activities every year.

March 2015

UNITAR  Newsletter

Editorial: Reducing Urban Risk

Urban risk is continually increasing. Urbanization is taking place at an unprecedented rate. By 2030 more than 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, with record concentrations in large urban conglomerations and megacities in the developing world. Vulnerability of cities to disasters is on the rise especially as disadvantaged people settle in high-risk urban areas. The implication of this reality is the need for cities to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities, while integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into their planning processes.

The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) will take place from 14 to 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan to determine the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Local governments are essential actors for implementing this new framework and reducing risk in cities. UNITAR is committed to make the most out of this conference and is actively supporting its outcomes by developing a new e-learning course to strengthen resilience in cities and by building capacities around the world in close cooperation with UNISDR, the UN Office for DRR.

UNITAR's CIFAL Global Network engages local authorities and key decision-makers to better respond to disasters, develop and implement resilience action plans and ultimately build resilient cities. We invite you to read more about our activities in this newsletter.



Foto Evento resiliencia Quito

The CIFAL Global Network welcomes CIFAL El Salvador

The new International Training Centre for Local Actors (CIFAL) El Salvador was officially inaugurated on 13 January 2015 by the Vicepresident of the Republic of El Salvador Mr. Oscar Ortiz and Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Senior Fellow of UNITAR.

The Centre represents a beacon for collaboration between a Head of Government and UNITAR to provide training to government officials and leaders from Central America in key areas such as disaster risk reduction, competitiveness, leadership and the Post-2015 development agenda.

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Building Capacities of Local Governments to Reduce Disaster Risk in Latin America

CIFAL Quito, in collaboration with the Decentralized Government of the Province of Pichincha (GADPP), held the II Regional Forum on Risk Reduction and Climate Change in Quito on 18 - 19 February 2015, bringing together 130 local government officials, private sector representatives and civil society leaders from Ecuador and the Andean region.

The event aimed at enhancing the capacity of the participants to make the appropriate decisions when facing a risk situation and at providing the space to share best practices on risk reduction in Latin America. In the framework of the Forum, participants signed the Quito Declaration, which included substantial recommendations for the Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Exploring the Role of Municipalities in the Post-2015 Framework for DRR

Understanding that local governments are essential partners for disaster risk reduction, UNITAR’s Decentralized Cooperation Programme (DCP) together with the Municipality of Santa Tecla in El Salvador hosted the conference “The Role of Municipalities in the Post 2015 Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction”.

The conference brought together around 150 local government officials and municipal councilmembers from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and the Dominican Republic to exchange best practices to plan for disasters and reduce risks.

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Alex in Scotland

Building Capacity and Empowering Communities in Southern Bangladesh

Since 2013, CIFAL Scotland, with the support of the Scottish Government, has been leading a capacity building initiative to assist communities in southern Bangladesh affected by devastating cyclones.

In January 2015 CIFAL Scotland held the second Alumni Seminar gathering participants from the 2014 courses “Design for Sustainable Settlements” and “Premaculture Approaches for Food Production”. Participants came from the Mongla, Sutarkhali and Banishanta regions to share lessons learned during 2014.

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CIFAL Shanghai CEO

Promoting Smart City and Food Safety

CIFAL Shanghai hosted the XII Smart City Public Lecture “Smart City and Food Safety” at Shanghai Sciences Hall on 4 February 2015. This one-day lecture focused on the informatization of food safety management, bringing together 69 participants from different industries.

This event is part of a series of Smart City Public Lectures aimed at raising awareness about smart city development. The series of lectures serve as a unique platform to exchange ideas and experiences as well as to network and identify for business and cooperation opportunities.

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CIFAL Jeju Holistic Waste

Advancing Sustainable Energy Development

CIFAL Płock in cooperation with the National Association of Initiatives organized a workshop on Renew Energy- new mission, low emission on 26-27 February in Plock. The event brought together 30 participants from Polish municipalities, national government and NGOs to discuss and share ideas about the challenge of sustainable energy development.

The main goal of the event was to explain national and EU policies in the field of energy and how to integrate Green Public Procurement (GPP) in Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs). Furthermore, the event provided an overview of the Regional Operational Programme, including the perspective of the upcoming programming period 2014-2020.

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CIFAL Plocks Mobility

Improving Food Security in Northern Senegal

CIFAL Scotland has been conducting a series of capacity building activities with the communities of Guédé Chantier, Lahel, Moundouwaye and Diarra in Northern Senegal to mark the launch of a three-year food security project. Supported by the UK Government, the project aims at developing community land to produce more food in a more efficient way, and increase the communities’ resilience to the advancing effects of climate change.

In the framework of this food security project, CIFAL Scotland conducted the Permaculture Design Course on 3 - 6 February 2015, bringing together 45 community members. The Course involved peer-to–peer learning and experience sharing, as well as presentations and group discussions. Topics discussed included soil conservation, seed saving and propagation, use of natural fertilizers and vermiculture, water and horticulture.

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CIFAL Plocks Mobility

Strengthening Capacities of Afghan Ministerial Officials

In an effort to strengthen the capacities of Afghan ministerial officials on effective governance and sustainable development, UNITAR's Decentralized Cooperation Programme (DCP) jointly with the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan and the Graduate Institute of Geneva offers the Executive Master on Development Policies and Practices (DPP). The second edition of this programme was undertaken by twenty Afghan officials and concluded with the graduation ceremony on 26 February 2015 in Maison de la Paix in Geneva.

The Executive Master in Development Policies and Practices (DPP) contributes to building capacity for sustainable and effective development activities that are equitable and respectful of cultural and social diversity. The curriculum has two key objectives: to strengthen the analytical and leadership skills of participants, and to enhance their organisations' effectiveness through a job-related professional thesis. UNITAR is committed to this partnership with the Graduate Institute of Geneva and the Afghan Government. The third edition of this Master will be launched in April 2015.