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United Nations (UN)

Implementation of the International strategy for disaster reduction

United Nations - General Assembly

1 August 2005

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  1. World Conference on Disaster Reduction Follow-up to the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015:
    Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters

  1. In its resolution 58/214, the General Assembly decided to convene a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in January 2005. That conference was held (a) to conclude a review of the 10-year-old Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World: Guidelines for Natural Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation and of the Strategy Plan of Action, with a view to updating the guiding framework on disaster reduction for the twenty-first century; (b) to identify specific actions aimed at ensuring the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Plan of Implementation) in the areas of vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management; (c) to share best practices and lessons learned to further disaster reduction; (d) to increase awareness of the importance of disaster reduction policies; and (e) to increase the reliability and availability of disaster-related information to the public and disaster management agencies in all regions. The Strategy secretariat was to serve as the secretariat of the Conference and to coordinate preparatory activities.

  2. The General Assembly, in its resolution 59/231, reiterated its invitation to Member States, all United Nations bodies and specialized agencies and other relevant intergovernmental agencies and organizations, in particular the members of the Task Force, to participate actively in the Conference. It also requested the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, at its sixtieth session, a report on the implementation of the resolution, and in particular on the outcome of that Conference.

  3. The World Conference on Disaster Reduction, hosted by the Government of Japan, was held in Kobe, Hyogo, from 18 to 22 January 2005, just three weeks after a powerful earthquake and tsunami had engulfed the Indian Ocean region and had caused one of the most devastating disasters in living memory. According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels, during the period May 2004-April 2005, disasters associated with natural hazards killed nearly 250,000 people worldwide and affected, mainly through injuries and material losses, some 157 million people, causing damage evaluated at some US$ 102 billion.

  4. The Conference attracted worldwide attention and assumed an unprecedented level of significance with regard to disaster risk reduction. It brought together some 4,000 people from interested public and private entities from around the world, with participants from 168 States, 78 observer bodies, 161 non-governmental organizations and 562 journalists representing 152 media organizations. The Public Forum, which offered a platform for information exchange with the public, welcomed some 40,000 participants and hosted 66 workshops.

  5. The Conference represented a landmark in worldwide understanding of and commitment to implementing a comprehensive disaster risk reduction agenda. It revealed the wealth of knowledge and practical abilities that exists in the area of disaster risk reduction but which has not been made available in a consolidated manner or applied as effectively as it could have been. It also revealed the outstanding challenges to ensure that development sectors within the United Nations system, international financial institutions, national and local public administrations and the private sector adopt risk assessments and disaster-resilient development practices. Problematic issues related to the financing of such undertakings are frequently unresolved. Lessons learned from the tsunami-hit countries also revealed other weaknesses pointing to the need for increased educational and awareness programmes, early warning and institutional preparedness capacities.

  6. In the course of the preparatory work and debates, the Conference helped shape the emergence of a new political will to translate words into action and to apply available human and technical resources to the search for solutions in disasterprone countries and regions around the world. The Conference forcefully demonstrated that the tragedy in the Indian Ocean region had strengthened the determination of participants to reach tangible conclusions and to agree on a clearly defined action plan against which commitments and achievements could be measured in the future. That political will was expressed in the Conference outcomes (see A/CONF.206/6), the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, a Common statement of the Special Session on the Indian Ocean Disaster: risk reduction for a safer future and the Review of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action for a Safer World.

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