Meeting the Urban Challenge: Adapting humanitarian efforts ... - alnap

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Meeting the Urban Challenge: Adapting humanitarian efforts ... - alnap

MEETING THE URBAN CHALLENGE 11Box 3 Initiatives to address urban disaster-related issuesMany members of ALNAP are engaged in a variety of initiatives that relate to urban disasters. Whilesome of these initiatives are fairly new, others have been in place for over a decade. These initiativesinclude:◆◆The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) project on urban humanitarianism◆◆UNESCO’s initiative on urban biospheres◆◆The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment◆◆World Bank’s Cities Alliance and Cities in Transition◆◆International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) urbanisation science project◆◆Diversitas science plan on urbanisation◆◆International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) Urbanisations and Health◆◆◆◆◆◆Working GroupUS National Academies’ Panel on Urban Population Dynamics and Roundtable on Science andTechnology for Sustainability’s Task Force on Rapid UrbanisationUN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Asia disaster risk reductionnetworkEfforts within specific agencies – International Federation of Red Cross and Red CrescentSocieties (IFRC), Oxfam GB, World Vision.include the high risk of disaster events occurring in poor urban environments; the extreme damage that theseevents can cause; and the fact that damaged infrastructure can worsen the impact and hamper the response.There has been a recent and welcome increase in interest in the area of urban disaster risk reduction. At theinternational level, 2010 saw the launch of an important new UNISDR campaign on ‘resilient cities’, to whichmore than 1,000 cities have signed up at the time of writing (UNISDR, 2011), 3 while the World Bank’s GlobalFund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery is supporting the development of a multi-hazard Urban DisasterRisk Index (UDRI) as a tool to provide a baseline against which risks can be mapped and progress towardsresilience measured over time. Initiatives are also under way at regional levels, including the Regional Strengtheningand Disaster Risk Reduction in Major Cities in the Andean Communities run by UNDP and the RockefellerFoundation’s Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network. In addition, many national governmentshave recognised disaster risks in their cities and have initiated risk assessment, preparedness and in some cases,mitigation programmes. Turkey, Jordan, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Colombiaall have active national urban DRR programmes.However, as the 5th Asia Pacific Urban Forum highlighted in June 2011, much more needs to be done. Theforum posed the question: ‘Complex urban disasters – are we ready?’ The answer from experts in Japan, Chinaand Bangladesh – representing the spectrum from high to low-income countries – was: ‘no, not yet’.Participants at the 27th ALNAP Meeting recognised that the role of humanitarians in urban DRR, while potentiallyimportant, is limited. The experience of Nepal and the Philippines suggests that in order to be effective,3 As part of this campaign, UNISDR have created a useful self-assessment tool for cities to use in judging their ownresilience, and a handbook for local governments.

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