Brussels – This time two years ago half of Albania was covered in snow and the country appealed for international assistance. The country and the capital Tirana (pop. 418,000) also lives with the threats of earthquakes, floods, heat waves and drought.
This winter has also been severe. The local media reports that people have died from the cold in remote, isolated areas and houses have collapsed from the weight of the snow.
There is growing awareness across the country of the need for better preparedness and to build resilience, and the capital Tirana is leading the way with its decision to join UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
At a special event organized with UNISDR’s Europe Office, Vice-Mayor, Enno Bodzo, stressed the importance for Tirana to be part of the “Making City Resilient” Campaign along with over 1,700 other cities and towns around the world.
Mr. Bodzo said: “Disaster Risk Reduction is an holistic process that requires partnerships at all levels. It is important for our city to be part of international activities such as this campaign and share knowledge and experiences in disaster management at the local level with other cities in Europe and worldwide”.
The event was also attended by the Director General of the Ministry of Interior Civil Emergency General Directorate, Shemsi Prenci, who said: “Disaster prevention and preparedness is most important at the grassroots level, awareness of the population on disaster risks is the first step to build resilient society”.
UNISDR’s Demetrio Innocenti, representing the Campaign, explained that the role of local governments is crucial in addressing the challenges of urban risks in an increasingly urbanized world.
The UNISDR Making Cities Resilient Campaign, launched in 2010, focuses on addressing this issue. Grounded in the global agreement on disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action, the campaign aims to create a global network of cities of different sizes, characteristics, risk profiles and locations. The campaign promotes media and public awareness activities, and facilitates access to existing knowledge, tools and experience.
A Ten Point Checklist of Essentials to Make Cities Resilient, developed for the campaign, has served as the basis for the commitments towards the objectives. Local governments that sign up to the campaign are requested to undertake a self-assessment in these ten Essentials, for which an online Local Government Self-Assessment tool has been developed by UNISDR in 2011 following a pilot with 23 cities in 16 countries.
UNISDR has now added a Disaster Resilience Scorecard for use by members of the campaign to check their progress and identify gaps in their resilience. The scorecard was developed by IBM and AECOM and is available online, free to all.
The Tirana event was supported by the project “Building Resilience to Disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey” co-financed by the European Commission through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance and co-implemented by UNISDR with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).