The UN and Disaster Risk Management

The United Nations designated the period of 1990-1999 as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). Under the umbrella of this Decade, experts from many fields began to shape the global framework for disaster risks and their management. Of particular relevance was the introduction of several concepts related to disaster-risk including hazards, vulnerability and exposure and the need to to reduce disaster-risks as a way for a more sustainable development of communities worldwide. Many organizations of the United Nations system carried out a variety of efforts and activities under the auspices of this Decade.

The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA)

In 2005, UNISDR and the Government of Japan hosted the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) in Kobe, Japan. The outcome of this conference was the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). This framework, endorsed by 168 Member States, marked a milestone in catalyzing national and local efforts to reduce disaster risk and in strengthening international cooperation through the development of regional strategies, plans and policies, and the creation of global and regional platforms for disaster risk reduction. As in the case of the IDNDR, many UN agencies have conducted a variety of efforts in many countries of the world under the umbrella of the HFA.


Under the guidelines of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), the Office for Outer Space Affairs of the United Nations (UNOOSA) established in 2006 the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER) with the aim of promoting the use of space-based information in all phases of the disaster management cycle in all regions of the world.

Post-HFA and WCDRR

In 2013, UNISDR began to devote efforts to pave the way for a new framework for disaster-risk reduction. The three-year long process, which culminates in the World Conference on Disaster-Risk Reduction (WCDRR), to be conducted in Sendai, Japan, in March of 2015, will be used to launch the new framework that aims to manage disaster and climate risk in development at local, national and international levels for resilient people and countries.

The new framework is geared to:

  • Prevent the creation of new risk by the adoption of risk-informed growth and development pathways that minimise increase in exposure and vulnerability;
  • Reduce existing risk through the action that addresses and reduces exposure and vulnerability, including preparedness for disaster response;
  • Strengthen resilience by social and economic measures that enable countries and people to absorb loss, minimise impact and recover.

The proposed framework will build on and strengthen the HFA and previous international frameworks and strategies and aims to guide international and national efforts over the next 20 years.

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