My City is Getting Ready!
Belts of chronic poverty, growing populations, inadequate housing, unplanned development, and insufficient infrastructure plague many cities and urban centers and help to intensify the impact of natural threats. These vulnerable conditions for urban inhabitants are compounded by climate change and weak local governance in facing risks and disasters.
The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters provides recommendations on how local governments can manage and reduce urban risks. Risk reduction provides opportunities for capital investment through the upgrading of infrastructure and the modernization and reconditioning of buildings for greater energy efficiency and security, urban renewal and modernization, the use of clean energy, and the improvement of rundown neighborhoods.
In particular, with the 2010-2011 campaign: “Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!” the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and its partners are working to raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable urbanization. There are sufficient grounds: when risk reduction strategies are successful, poverty is reduced and there is increased growth, jobs, social equality, and business opportunities, balanced ecosystems, and better health and education.
Since local governments are the institutional level closest to citizens and communities (they play an immediate role in responding to crises and emergencies and must meet the needs of their populations), the ISDR campaign seeks to convince them to commit to carrying out a list of essential activities to achieve resilient cities and work in conjunction with local stakeholders, grassroots networks, and national authorities.
These activities cover aspects such as: organization and coordination to reduce risks, the allocation of a budget, the updating of information on threats and vulnerabilities, investment in infrastructure, the application of construction standards, establishment of education and training programs, the protection of ecosystems and natural areas, the installation of early warning systems, and meeting the needs of disaster victims.
The success of the campaign will be measured by how many mayors and local governments commit to the initiative, how many partnerships and alliances among citizens and organizations are formed and how many cities show evidence of new risk-reduction plans.
As part of the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, ISDR has published a web page to promote the activities of this campaign: http://www.unisdr.org/english/campaigns/campaign2010-2011/.