Asia and Pacific UNISDR Informs/Living with Risk

Living with Risk:
A Global Review of Disaster Reduction Initiatives
This Publication has been developed by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia & Pacific.

About UNISDR Regional Office for Asia & PacificEdit

With over 50% of the total world disasters, the Asia and Pacific Islands region represents the widest and most disaster prone continent in the world, beyond Africa, with a regular and increased frequency of typhoons, tsunamis, floods, droughts, fires and other natural hazards. Despite the wealth of expertise, knowledge and know-how in disaster risk reduction, the increasing population growth, widespread poverty, environmental degradation, rising pollution and wild human settlements keep increasing the vulnerabilities of most communities in Asia and the Pacific Islands, thereby creating a favorable terrain to allow the above natural hazards to transform invariably into devastating disasters wiping out all human lives and economic lifelines on their way, and setting back years of continued development efforts.

In December 2004, the tragic tsunami in the Indian Ocean has heightened the level of awareness of the communities in Asia and the Pacific about the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction into national development planning and reminded them of the need to work together in a coordinated manner to respond to the threat of disasters.

In that spirit, as a direct follow-up to the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (January 2005, Kobe, Japan) and at the request of the 168 UN Member States grouped together on the occasion, the UNISDR established a regional presence to cover the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region. The UNISDR regional Unit for Asia and the Pacific was set up in June 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand, hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

The UNISDR Asia & Pacific is currently divided into two separate bodies:

(i) A regional unit, based in Bangkok, Thailand, which covers the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region. It includes a Senior Regional Coordinator and a Regional Programme Officer, as well as two local support staff

(ii) A sub-regional liaison office for Central Asia, based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and covering Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, is coordinated by a Junior Professional Officer

Our MandateEdit

The core mandate of the UNISDR Asia & Pacific includes awareness-raising activities in disaster risk reduction, including the promotion of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign and the annual UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, advocacy through policy formulation, the dissemination of guidelines to assist in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), promote the establishment of national platforms for disaster risk reduction, enhance networking and partnership-building to contribute to an effective culture of safety and protection of all communities in the Asia and Pacific Islands region.

Three specific areas of focus have been identified to guide the work of the UNISDR Asia and the Pacific. They include:

(i) The promotion of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) throughout the whole Asia and Pacific Islands region and the forging of partnerships at the regional level to facilitate its implementation, with the effective operational support and expertise of members of the UNISDR Asian Partnership on Disaster Reduction (IAP) and other relevant players.

(ii) The follow-up and strengthening of the projects carried out under the United Nations Flash Appeal for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Early Warning System (IOTWS), including an increased cooperation and coordination with relevant technical partners and the donor community. (iii) The development of an effective information management system with comprehensive databases, the maintenance of a regional website, the production of a bi-annual publication “Disaster Reduction in Asia and the Pacific - UNISDR Informs”, the dissemination of regional highlights promoting regional partners’ initiatives and relevant events among other.

The UNISDR Asia and Pacific Islands works through a growing network of national platforms to mobilize governmental actions in disaster risk reduction as well as directly with the governments in the region, as mandated though the HFA, to assist them in identifying their priorities and in formulating their national action plan on disaster risk reduction towards its integration in national development plans. It also makes an effective use of regional partners’ networks at the national level, in particular the UN Country Team members, to facilitate the effective implementation of DRR strategies.

Introduction to the PublicationEdit

While the world has witnessed a drop in the number of deaths per year due to disasters over the past ten years, more people are being affected and economic costs are escalating more than ever.

Earthquakes are inevitable, but death in an earthquake is not. Floods are a fact of life, but they need not wash away health, hope and livelihoods. Living with Risk - a global review of disaster reduction initiatives is intended for people who have an interest in and practice disaster risk management and sustainable development. It provides guidance, policy orientation and inspiration, as well as serving as a reference for lessons on how to reduce risk and vulnerability to hazards and to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Natural hazards can affect anyone, anywhere. People are threatened by hazards because of their social, economic and environmental vulnerability, which must be taken into account if sustainable development is to be achieved. Disaster risk reduction therefore concerns everyone, from villagers to heads of state, from bankers and lawyers to farmers and foresters, from meteorologists to media chiefs.

Living with Risk: A global review of disaster reduction initiatives brings to light the urgent need for action to be taken – and the people who are doing so – towards building sustainable societies in an increasingly disaster-prone world.

Table of ContentsEdit




Preface: A Journey to a Safer World

Chapter 1: Living with Risk - Focus on Disaster Risk Reduction

1.1 Setting the Scene: Understanding Disaster Risk Reduction
1.2 Contexts and Policy Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction: Sustainable Development

Chapter 2: Risk Awareness and Assessment

2.1 Understanding the Nature of Risk
2.2 Emerging Trends in Hazards, Vulnerability Patterns and the Impact of Disasters
2.3 Risk Assessment

Chapter 3: Policy and Commitment: The Foundation of Disaster Risk Reduction

3.1 National Institutional Frameworks: Policy, Legislation and Organizational Development
3.2 Local Authorities
3.3 Regional Cooperation, Interaction and Experience
3.4 Community Action

Chapter 4: Building Understanding: Development of Knowledge and Information Sharing

4.1 Information Management and Communication of Experience
4.2 Networking and Partnerships
4.3 Education and Training
4.4 Research
4.5 Public Awareness

Chapter 5: A Selection of Disaster Reduction Applications

5.1 Environmental Management
5.2 Land-use Planning
5.3 Safe Building Construction and Protection of Critical Facilities
5.4 Financial and Economic Tools
5.5 Early warning systems

Chapter 6: Future Challenges

A Common Vision for Disaster Risk Reduction

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