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New study identifies political leadership as no. 1 issue in managing disaster risk

September 04, 2012

The new study, "Making Cities Resilient Report 2012",  identifies political leadership as more important than a city’s wealth when it comes to protecting the lives and economic assets of cities and towns from disasters.

The study takes stock of the lessons learned from the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign, where ICLEI is a staunch partner. It provides a global snapshot of how local governments reduce disaster risk and was undertaken by a team from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development led by Senior Fellow, Dr. David Satterthwaite.

Dr. Satterthwaite said: “The Making Cities Resilient campaign is proving that despite a rise in extreme weather events and the threats posed by climate change, urbanization does not have to lead to an increase in risk. Where city and local governments demonstrate leadership and competence in working with low-income populations living in informal settlements flood impacts can be reduced and the threats from other natural hazards minimized.

“Cities which understand how to prevent recurring losses will thrive and the campaign is motivating over 1,000 cities and towns to get a better handle on how to reduce their risk and avoid loss of life and damages.”

Across all the cities analyzed in this report, the five types of activities occurring most frequently are:

    1. Taking disaster risk reduction into account in new urban planning regulations, plans and development activities;
    2. Establishing councils/committees/disaster management structures dedicated to disaster risk reduction;
    3. Constructing hazard-resistant infrastructure or improving existing facilities;
    4. Establishing education/awareness/training programs;
    5. Citizen participation/ multi-stakeholder dialogues.


Another important trend is the extent to which cities are integrating disaster risk reduction into other local government activities, including education, livelihoods, health, environment, and planning, either by incorporating risk considerations into existing activities or initiating projects that address multiple issues simultaneously.

The full report can be accessed here: http://www.preventionweb.net/files/28240_rcreport.pdf

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