Incheon – A major ‘City to City Learning’ forum on resilience heralds a renewed effort of global knowledge sharing ahead of the post-2015 international framework for disaster risk reduction.
Ten cities in South Asia and Iran and 27 from the Republic of Korea have agreed to share experience and consolidate their commitment for local action, as part of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
The 37 cities focused on urban risk management, risk sensitive urban planning, local action and critical infrastructure safety with specific focus on school safety as part of their discussions on the post-2015 framework.
The ‘City to City Learning’, hosted at UNISDR’s Office for North East Asia-Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Incheon, opened with two significant events that encompass knowledge sharing and networking.
First, UNISDR’s Incheon office launched its new website to act as an online hub to share information on resilience building and foster various disaster risk reduction networks across the world.
Second, the 27 Korean municipalities present – including Yangju city and Gapyeong county – officially signed up to the Making Cities Resilient campaign and its Ten Essentials.
Mayor of Yangju city, Mr. Hyun Sam-suk, spoke of his delight after the ceremony: “I would like to make the best use of this Making Cities Resilient Campaign to make my city resilient to disasters by bringing multi-stakeholder commitment to disaster risk reduction. This joint workshop is a great opportunity for me to meet other mayors and build knowledge networks among cities.”
Participants from South Asia and Iran also reviewed the three pillars of UNISDR’s safe school campaign: structural safety; the integration of disaster risk reduction in school curricula; and better disaster preparedness of schools.
Mr. Ahsan Ali Mangi from Islamabad, Pakistan, said the forum enabled cities and local governments to explore key thematic areas for urban resilience and be enriched by learning from each other.
In extending continued cooperation with UNISDR, Director-general in Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mr. Gye-jo Kim congratulated the Incheon office for its high-level advocacy through its Mainstreaming Adaptation and Disaster Reduction into Development (MADRiD) programme and for the launch of its new website.
Mr, Young-soo Huh, from Incheon City, emphasized his city aimed to join the ranks of international hubs, such as Geneva and New York, through its growing number of partnerships with international organizations and UN agencies based there.
Such partnerships were essential to strengthen disaster risk management at the local, national, regional and international level, the incoming Head of UNISDR’s Incheon Office, Mr Sanjaya Bhatia, affirmed.
“Thanks to the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Incheon City Government, UNISDR’s Incheon office has established a robust and effective training programme with outreach to Asia, Africa and soon Central America,” said Mr Bhatia, who arrives in Incheon in January.
“With the increase in our area of coverage we need to establish more effective means of communication and outreach. The website is one of the steps planned to ensure greater impact. Watch for more initiatives in the next few months.”
The four-day ‘City to City Learning’, which closes tomorrow, was jointly organized by the Korean National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), City of Incheon, National Disaster Management Institute (NDMI), Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation (KOSHAM), Korea Water Resources Association (KWRA), and the SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC), and UNISDR.
UNISDR’s Office for North East Asia-Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction opened in 2011 with the valuable support of NEMA and the City of Incheon.
The Office was established to: provide technical support; conduct capacity development and training initiatives; carry our advocacy; enhance knowledge management and the sharing of best practice; and promote partnerships.
It runs a series of programmes and initiatives, including Mainstreaming Adaptation and Disaster Reduction into Development (MADRiD); Collaborative Learning Initiative for Cities (CLIC); Sustainable Training Institutions for Resilience (STIR); Disaster Risk Reduction in North East Asia; Post-2015 consultations and HFA monitoring and review process; and support to trilateral DRR meetings between China, Japan, and Republic of Korea.
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