The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) was founded in 1971 as an instrument to help achieve the strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade. Created by an agreement between the UN and the Government of Japan, its operations are supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA).
UNCRD’s vision is to achieve sustainable living environment for all. Its mission is to assist developing countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable development. Regional development planning and management is an effective set of tools that UNCRD is prioritizing to realize its vision and mission through guiding subnational, national and international actions to reduce the social, economic and environmental disparities within a region or among different regions.
UNCRD’s interventions in developing countries are clustered under three main thematic interrelated and complementary areas of work – (a) Integrated Regional Development Planning; (b) Sustainable Urban Management; and (c) Knowledge Management.
Disaster Reduction Goal
Under the Sustainable Urban Management Cluster, the UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme has the overall goal, as a means to achieve sustainable development, to advance disaster risk reduction globally and support efforts in making local communities, cities and societies more resilient to the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards and disasters.
UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme focuses on key elements of self-help, cooperation, and education through activities such as:
• Research projects with specific focus on implementation and field experiences;
• Training and capacity building in different communities;
• Advisory services to the vulnerable communities before and after the disasters, and networking of communities;
• Facilitating networking and partnership building;
• Dissemination of best practices through workshops, publications, reports and internet homepage.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
Highlights of impact since 2011
Since the establishment of the Disaster Management Planning Programme in 1985, DRR has been one of UNCRD’s main thematic areas of work, supporting efforts to achieve sustainable regional development. It does this through research, capacity building activities and partnerships with national and local governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academia and communities (in developing countries), enhancing communities’ resilience and reducing their vulnerability to natural and human-induced hazards and disasters.
Over the years, the UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme has accumulated a strong long-standing track record of successful work on issues such as Community-Based Disaster Management (CBDM), the School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI), and the Housing Earthquake Safety Initiative (HESI), which also comprised building code implementation and developing guidelines for repairing, restoring and seismic retrofitting of core community buildings.
Throughout its history, the Disaster Management Planning Programme has always promoted and nurtured a participatory, pro-poor, inclusive, gender-sensitive approach, in all the different activities and initiatives it has developed and undertaken in different contexts.
After twelve years in Kobe, the Disaster Management Planning Unit was, in 2011, reintegrated to the UNCRD Nagoya Office, where a new programme and new activities are being developed and undertaken by a new team.
The new Programme is building upon the vast experience accumulated by Centre over the years. Adapting to the reality of the trend of urbanization happening in developing countries, it is further integrating disaster risk reduction in urban areas, with a particular focus on slums, informal and marginal settlements in developing countries which, at present, accommodate more than 90 per cent of the total slum dweller population worldwide.
To date, although various upgrading efforts are being made, very few are directly addressing disaster risk and vulnerability of the urban poor who establish themselves in inadequate housing structures on marginal sites such as floodplains or steep hillsides. These lack environmental services, including drainage, wastewater collection, garbage collection and adequate access to safe water, and are particularly susceptible to hazards of natural and human cause.
UNCRD's new Disaster Management Planning Programme is addressing these issues in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. It is working in line with the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 and the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development "The future we want", striving for the integration of pro-poor, gender-sensitive risk and vulnerability reduction strategies and plans into the policies, codes, regulations, plans and programmes at regional, national, and sub-national levels.
One of the first activities of the new UNCRD Disaster Management Planning Programme was an "International Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Building of Urban Communities", held in Japan in 2012. The overall objective of the workshop was to support the establishment of a network of professionals, experts and representatives from governments, NGOs and CBOs of developing countries through training (including lectures, presentations, and group discussions).
The workshop was conceived as a platform, through which participants could share their knowledge, experience and points of view, and discuss cooperation in partnership with UNCRD to develop pro-poor, gender-sensitive strategies and plans for disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and resilience building of poor communities living in peri-urban and urban areas of their respective countries. The aim was to integrate these strategies and plans into policies and programmes, to achieve effective implementation at all (national and sub-national, i.e. city, village and community) levels.
Membership in Key Networks
• UNDRR Inter-Agency Group
• International Recovery Platform
• National and local government
• Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
• Community-based organizations (CBOs)
Disaster Reduction Focal Point(s)
DRR Focal Point: Mr. Jean D’Aragon, PhD, Coordinator, Disaster Management Planning Unit, firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Ms. Yukari Tsuzuki, Senior Operations Assistant, Disaster Management Planning Unit, email@example.com