Disasters affect the well-being and safety of people, communities and countries, as a whole.  Globally, the most common hazardous events are road accidentsnatural disasters, and industrial injuries. Approximately 190 million people are directly affected annually by emergencies due to natural and technological hazards, with over 77 000 deaths. A further 172 million are affected by conflict (UNDRR). From 2012 to 2017, there were recorded more than 1200 out­breaks in 168 countries, including those due to new or re-emerging infectious diseases. In 2018, a further 352 infectious disease events, including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), were tracked by the World Health Organization.

All communities are at risk of emergencies and di­sasters, including those associated with natural disasters, infectious dis­ease outbreaks, conflicts, technological and other hazards.  Particularly in the context of increased urbanization and climate changefrequency, severity and impact of disasters are crucial. The health, economic, political and societal consequences of these events can be devastating for developed and developing countries. 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recommend scaling up the implementation of holistic disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and plans, as means to improve resilience to disasters globally (SDG 11.B). Reducing the impact of disasters is a top priority. 


With the objective of strengthening the capacities of governments and communities, in particular developing countries, for risk reduction and disaster management, 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 facing disasters - Latin Americanthe Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific.

Social Development Programme

Capacity development is a vital strategy for implementing disaster management and risk reduction plans. UNITAR’s Social DevelopmentProgramme (SDP) provides training opportunities to government officials at the local and national level, through:

1. Online Training Courses

In partnership with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), SDP offers an array of online training courses, which strengthen the capacities of government officials, especially those at the local level, as well as disaster management professionals. These classes aid to design and implement plans and programmes that reduce disaster risk and enhance resilience

2. Training Workshops

In partnership with academic institutions, governmentsinternational organizations and other UN agenciesSDP contributes to facilitate the exchange of best practices, experiences and approaches to better manage disasters.


    The CIFAL Global Network




    Through its global network of 21 training centres called the “CIFAL Global Network”, UNITAR offers training opportunities to develop more effective disaster response and preparedness strategies. One key objective of the CIFAL Centres is to encourage city-to-city collaboration and multi-stakeholder  cooperation amongst governments. The CIFAL centres specialized on Disaster Management are listed below:





    CIFAL Durban

    Area of training:

    • Disaster Management Strategic Planning


    CIFAL Jeju

    Area of training:

    • Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 


    CIFAL Malaga

    Area of training:

    • Intervention, Emergency and Catastrophe Management 


    CIFAL Merida

    Area of training:

    • Hurricane Preparedness and Response Planning


    CIFAL Newcastle

    Area of training:

    • Government approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction
    • Private sector approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction


    For more information, please contact: or


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