Geneva - The need to overcome slow progress in putting the theory of disaster risk reduction into practice is among the topics to be covered at a global biennial forum on disaster risk taking place in Switzerland this weekend.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a patron of the 4th International Disaster and Risk Conference 2012 (IDRC Davos 2012), which will bring together more than 1,000 risk and disaster experts, practitioners and government officials from 100 countries.
With the theme 'Integrative Risk Management in a Changing World', the four-day event will focus on the transfer of cutting-edge knowledge, strategies and good practice across the diverse sectors, disciplines and end users involved in risk reduction and disaster management.
Among the activities, the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) will host a special session on 28 August entitled, 'Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction: Moving from Theory to Practice'.
To be moderated by UNEP's Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction, Muralee Thummarukudy, the session will explore why disaster risk reduction has been slow to shift from theory into practice, and focus on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development planning, in particular the role of improved ecosystems management.
"Although there is growing awareness that improving the management of ecosystems and natural resources plays an essential role in reducing human vulnerability to disasters, there has been a lag investing in disaster risk reduction in general, and in ecosystem-based solutions for risk reduction in particular," Mr Thummarukudy said.
The other speakers include the National Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction from Côte d'Ivoire's Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development, the Hon. Abé Delfin Ochou; the Director of the Institute for Management in Government, Kerala, India, Dr Nivedita Haran; the Project Manager of World Bank's Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, Mr Daniel Kull; and IUCN Ecosystems Management Programme Coordinator Ms Radhika Murti.
UNEP will also take part in the Plenary Session on 'Mega-disasters with Cascading Effects' where the speakers - including Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction - will explore the issue of major disasters and how the world community can be better prepared for such events.
UNEP is a long-standing advocate of the concept of Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR), an integrated approach to address both disaster and climate change-related risks.
IDRC Davos 2012 will take place from 26-30 August. The outcomes of the four-day conference will feed into the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2013.
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