International Day for Disaster Reduction 2015 : “Knowledge for life”


At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the international community was reminded that disasters hit hardest at the local level with the potential to cause loss of life and great social and economic upheaval. Sudden onset disasters displace millions of people every year. In 2014, 19.3 million people were newly displaced by disasters. Disasters, many of which are exacerbated by climate change, have a negative impact on investment in sustainable development and the desired outcomes. It is also at the local level that capacities need to be strengthened urgently.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is people-focussed and action-oriented in its approach to disaster risk reduction and applies to the risk of small-scale and large -scale disasters caused by man – made or natural hazards as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks.


The new sustainable development agenda is made of up 17 cross-cutting goals

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
The Seven Global Targets
(a) Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
(b) Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
(c) Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
(d) Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
(e) Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
(f) Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
(g) Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.
The Four Priorities for Action
Priority 1. Understanding disaster risk
Disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment. Such knowledge can be used for risk assessment, prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response.
Priority 2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
Disaster risk governance at the national, regional and global levels is very important for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation. It fosters collaboration and partnership.
Priority 3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
Public and private investment in disaster risk prevention and reduction through structural and non-structural measures are essential to enhance the economic, social, health and cultural resilience of persons, communities, countries and their assets, as well as the environment.Priority 4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction
The growth of disaster risk means there is a need to strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take action in anticipation of events, and ensure capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase is a critical opportunity to build back better, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures.

Chart of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

 The focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction is on the traditional, indigenous and local knowledge which complement modern science and add to an individual’s and societies’ resilience. For example, knowledge of early warning signals in nature can be vital to ensuring early action is taken to mitigate the impact of both slow and fast onset disasters such as droughts, heatwaves, storms and floods. Combined with scientific knowledge such as reports generated by meteorologists, local knowledge is vital for preparedness and can be passed on from generation to generation. New knowledge and coping strategies are being generated all the time as communities in hazard prone locations work out new ways and means to adapt to disaster and climate risk.

In many aspects, indigenous people epitomise the importance of local knowledge and community- level engagement in disaster risk reduction. 370 million people around the world identify themselves as indigenous, in 90 countries. Indigenous peoples’ territories span over 24% of the earth’s surface and they manage 80% of the world’s biodiversity. More than 4,000 of the world’s 7,000 languages are spoken by indigenous people. Many traditions, practices and customs which are important to environmental protection and managing disaster risk are embedded in those languages which are threatened with extinction. In both rural and urban settings, indigenous peoples have unique vulnerabilities and needs in disaster risk reduction and in post-disaster recovery. At the same time, indigenous peoples have unique capacities and knowledge.

[box type=”info”] International Day for Disaster Reduction, on 13 October 2015 :

    1. Raises awareness of the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge and practices, to complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk management;
    2. Highlights approaches for engaging local communities and indigenous peoples in implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction[/box]

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