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 hazard, vulnerability, exposure and risk; as well as the need to reduce disaster-risks 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.

In January 2005, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (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.

In March 2015, the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction was adopted during the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The Sendai Framework is the successor to the HFA and will steer efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels between 2015 and 2030. It is structured in a similar fashion to the HFA, providing guidance to local and national institutions and stakeholders on key priorities for action, and includes guidance to regional and international organizations regarding how to contribute to these efforts. 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Sendai Framework has been established with the aim of leading to a substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries. The framework includes four priorities for action and seven global targets. The four priorities for action are:

  1. Understanding risk;
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
  3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

The Sendai Framework includes explicit text on the use of space and in-situ information, geographic information systems and novel information and communication technology to contribute to an improved understanding of risk. The framework also requests stakeholder to promote and enhance, through international cooperation, including technology transfer, access to and the sharing of non-sensitive data and information, communications and geospatial and space-based technologies and related services; as well as to maintain and strengthen in-situ and remotely-sensed Earth and climate observations. Space-based technologies and information are also expected to be used in the area of disaster preparedness, including early warning systems. 


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. UN-SPIDER has been active in the past years under the umbrella of the Hyogo Framework for Action, and will continue its efforts in line with the Sendai Framework. UN-SPIDER will work with its network or Regional Support Offices and other partners to support countries in the use of space-based information and technologies in Priority Areas 1 and 4, and will be active in promoting the use of space-based data in the indicators that will be used to track efforts leading to the achievment of the seven targets.

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