Brussels - Two mayors working hard to make their cities safer and more resilient took advantage of the recent United Nations Day to showcase the importance of reducing disaster risk.
The Mayor of Nis, Mr. Zoran Perišiæ, and the Mayor of Strumica, Mr. Zoran Zaev, both oversaw events that emphasized reducing climate and disaster risk as a priority.
'Today I would like to send a strong message to everyone in the community in which we live that we really need to get ready and always focus most of our energy in terms of personal readiness, family readiness and institutional preparedness for possible disasters' said Mr Zaev, Mayor of Strumica.
Strumica has been working in partnership with local and national actors such as the Crisis Management Centre and the Protection and Rescue Directorate, and with the support of UNDP, to map and assess risks and take measures to improve school safety and that of other critical public infrastructure.
The City of Nis is the first in Serbia to develop a comprehensive strategy with the vision of an economically, socially and environmentally safe municipality.
'Disaster risk reduction should be the concern of each individual citizen' said Mayor Perišiæ of Nis. 'Local governments together with national governments, international, regional and civil society organizations, donors, private sector, academia as well as every citizen need to be engaged in reducing their risk to disasters.'
Nis is constantly improving its institutions for risk reduction and the promotion of safety. Mr. Dorðe Babiæ, Deputy Head of Sector for Emergency Management of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia, said; “We have been making great efforts to build partnership with representatives of the local communities over the past years.
'The preparedness of local self-governments to promptly and effectively respond to and manage an emergency is crucial.'
Both municipalities are active in the Making Cities Resilient campaign of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and have long focused on improving risk awareness at the local level and in the community. Nis was one of 50 local communities in Serbia that joined the Campaign in 2010.
Nis and Strumica have both participated in the UNISDR-World Meteorological Organization (WMO) project 'Building Resilience to Disasters in the Western Balkans and Turkey' supported by the European Commission.
United Nations Day is celebrated worldwide on 24 October 2013.
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