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>> Press Release - April 2008

Local Action for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Partnership for Urban Risk Reduction (PURR), an ad-hoc coalition composed of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI), Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Metropolis and CITYNET, has been set up to develop a risk reduction policy. Among its first action, the PURR is launching a project “Local Action for Disaster Risk Reduction” that raise awareness, build competency and support local action for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

Aggravated and costly risks

More than 230 million people suffer from natural disasters every year1. The costs generated by the natural disasters are also increasing. The total amount of the funds used for reconstruction after hurricane Katrina rose to 200 billion dollars while the Kobe earthquake recovery efforts amounted to about 160 billion dollars. In developing countries, the annual cost of the disasters can represents a major part of GDP.

Moreover, the consequences of these natural catastrophes are aggravated by global warming, population density in hazardous areas, the rise of poverty or the destruction of the environment. Unfortunately, the risk of disaster remains both one of the most threatening and also one of the least understood.

Decentralization as a prevention tool

Cities and local authorities can enact policies and take action to reduce or even prevent the lethal consequences of natural disasters by adopting sound disaster risk management policies and practices. Local level action is an effective way to help communities to protect themselves against disaster risks by building a culture of prevention and by reducing their vulnerability trough mitigation measures and risk avoidance. Local authorities can build their own competency to effectively respond to disasters when they strike, while at the same time protect their populations, assets and investments.

The Local action for Disaster Risk Reduction is aimed at engaging cities and local communities to start the long-term process towards reducing the level of risk caused by natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and destructive storms.

Goals of the Project

The Local Action for Disaster Risk Reduction has three main goals:

  1. Launch global awareness campaigns about disaster risk and local action for disaster risk reduction.
  2. Build capacity at the local level to foresee and manage risks by transferring technical know-how to local actors and decision-makers.
  3. Develop a global framework for local authorities and their partners to build and promote a sustainable strategy for disaster risk reduction within the broader international context.

How Can you Get Involved?

You can obtain more information about the program by contacting UCLG or EMI via e-mail:

Mohamed Boussraoui - m.boussraoui@cities-localgovernments.org
Bijan Khazai - bijank@emi-megacities.org

PURR welcomes your involvement. You can receive more information about the initiative by contacting any of the PURR partners:

UCLG - info@cities-localgovernments.org
ICLEI - iclei@iclei.org
Metropolis - metropolis@bcn.cat
CITYNET - info@citynet-ap.org

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1Statistic from United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN-ISDR) for the period 2000-2006.