Kyoto, Japan, May 13, 2010— Kyoto University Global COE-HSE, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the United Nations/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), in cooperation with the Government of Japan, will organize a day-long global knowledge-sharing event on May 18, 2010 to distill lessons and help develop infrastructure and institutions that can lead to a reduction in disaster and climate risks. Termed the “Kyoto Policy Forum”, the event will gather over 200 government representatives, donors, development practitioners, and leading experts from over 60 countries to address disaster risk reduction in critical infrastructure, urban management and local institutions and communities.
“Colossal loss of life, schools and hospitals destroyed, development goals all but eliminated, 2010 has again shown so tragically the cost of inaction in applying existing knowledge in reducing risk,” said Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and a keynote speaker at the Forum. “I hope this Forum will stimulate policy-makers to explore ways to break down the barriers needed to implement resilience measures to reinforce critical infrastructure and institutions from disaster.” UNISDR has just launched a global campaign entitled My City is Ready, which is designed to stimulate direct actions by mayors and local authorities to safeguard urban development from disasters.
The Kyoto Policy Forum will explore the following topics:
Making critical infrastructure more resilient to disasters: Critical infrastructure must be able to withstand hazard events, and function effectively for emergency response and recovery. This session will explore the characteristics of increasing risks to critical infrastructure due to climate change, demographic changes, and other factors, and share promising practices related to disaster risk reduction in infrastructure.
Effective urban management for disaster-resilient communities: The urban poor suffer as a result of flawed urban management policies when disasters strike. This session will explore how to improve accountability and transparency in urban management as a mechanism to reduce disaster risk. The session will also share examples of good practice in the development and management of resilient and sustainable urban investments.
The importance of local institutions and community engagement: Local institutions—public, private, and civil society—play a critical role in shaping disaster risk management. This session will explore how institutions can enhance their capacity, how to strengthen their role and how to improve coordination across scales for better planning and implementation.
Japan serves as Co-Chair of the Consultative Group of GFDRR, the body which provides overall guidance and strategy for the Facility. Japan is one of the founding members of GFDRR and a pioneer in the field of disaster risk reduction, including through its contributions and valuable lessons-learned given its share of natural disasters including the Kobe earthquake. Japan facilitates cooperation in the field of disaster risk reduction, an example of which is the January 2005 UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, which adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action – an agreement which 168 countries and multilateral organizations have signed on to in order to effectively integrate disaster risk considerations into sustainable development policies, planning, programming, and financing at all levels of government.
“Japan is delighted to serve as Co-Chair for GFDRR this year and to be able to host the Policy Forum in Kyoto,” said Hiroki Owaki, Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. “We believe such gatherings provide an impetus for the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 (HFA) and sustainable development which incorporates disaster risk reduction at every level of policy-making.”
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About GFDRR The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a partnership of 21 countries, the ACP Secretariat, the European Commission, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, and the World Bank, committed to helping disaster-prone developing countries and regions reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and adapt to climate change. GFDRR promotes technical and financial assistance to high-risk low- and middle-income countries based on a business model of ex-ante support to mainstream disaster risk reduction in national development strategies and investments, and ex post disaster assistance for sustainable recovery. As part of its mandate, GFDRR promotes global knowledge and good practices, supports initiatives for enhanced global and regional cooperation, and promotes greater South-South cooperation in disaster risk reduction.
About Global COE-HSE The Global Center Of Excellence (GCOE) was established in 2007 to cultivate a competitive academic environment among Japanese universities by giving targeted support to the creation of world-standard research and education bases. Kyoto University has launched a new GCOE Program entitled "Global Center for Education and Research on Human Security Engineering for Asian Megacities (GCOE-HSE)" in the Graduate School of Engineering. This forum promotes the contribution of practical knowledge to society and the cooperation between GFDRR and GCOE-HSE activities.