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Geneva, 27 May 13

   

Nice, France, where people can subscribe to receive alerts about potential natural disasters and report on street disorder

The City Resilience Profiling Programme is collaborating with ten cities all over the world to develop more effective tools to measure and manage a city’s resilience to risk.

UN-Habitat, in collaboration with UNISDR, the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Marsh Risk Consulting, revealed the partner cities at a side event at the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013 on Building Safer and Resilient Cities and Settlements last week in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting, chaired by Mohamed Boussraoui, General Coordinator of the Congress and the Executive Officer of UCLG was attended by more than 115 participants.

The cities are: Balangoda (Sri Lanka), Barcelona (Spain), Beirut (Lebanon), Dagupan (Philippines), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Lokoja (Nigeria), Portmore (Jamaica), Talcahuano / Concepcion (Chile), Tehran (Iran), and Wellington (New Zealand).

During the conference, further cities showed interest in participating in the Programme.

At the conference, Dan Lewis, Chief of the Urban Risk Reduction Unit of UN-Habitat, presented the on-going City Resilience Profiling Programme, which aims to provide more robust ways of measuring the resilience of cities than the existing tools and indicators.

UNISDR emphasized that the programme added value to their efforts in assisting cities to develop resilience to all plausible threats and noted the more rigorous analysis of the urban systems approach. Abhilash Panda, the Regional Programme Officer at UNISDR, gave a presentation on the status of disaster risk reduction in cities and the local Hyogo Framework for Action.

Panda mentioned that cities and local governments are doing relatively well in improving governance capacity for disaster risk reduction, conducting risk assessments and regulations for urban planning. However, some challenges still remain in making financial resources available, especially micro-finance mechanisms targeting vulnerable people and providing economic incentives and support to businesses. Also, more progress is required in incorporating risk assessment into development planning and enforcing building codes.

Eddie McLaughlin, Managing Director, Marsh Risk Consulting, explained how the company, as a private firm with expertise in risk assessment, intends to implement the City Resilience Profiling Programme through modeling and indexing resilience, building on existing frameworks, such as the Local Government Self-Assessment Tool. He proposed to include six characteristics of resilience – robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, response, recovery, and level of integration/cooperation amongst various urban systems.

Benoit Kandel, First Deputy Major of Nice, France, presented an innovative use of a free mobile application called “Risques Nice”, which mobilizes its citizens to report disorder on the streets, subscribe to and receive alerts, and obtain information on preventive measures for major hazards. Over the last few months, more than 5,000 downloads were recorded, and more than 1,000 users have registered in the alert system.

More than half of the world's large cities, with populations ranging from 2 to 15 million, are located in areas of high earthquake risk. Population in large cities exposed to cyclones will increase from 310 to 680 million between 2000 and 2050.

Over the last 12 years USD 1.3 trillion has been lost to disasters. The cost of urban disasters during 2011 alone is estimated at over $380 billion. The trend is rising and now exceeds, on average, USD 100 million per year over the last decade. Chronic exposure to the impact of crises erodes development gains, diminishes resilience, and returns recovering economies to poverty, inequality, and reduced social cohesion and trust.

 
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