Disaster reduction is the conception and practice of reducing disaster risks through efficient efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters. Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events are all examples of disaster reduction.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction was started in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
This year's theme is: "Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030". Many disasters can be avoided or prevented if there is a risk-informed approach to the development construction and maintenance of critical infrastructure, in order to ensure that the creation of new risk is avoided, and that critical infrastructure continues to function during and after a disaster.
The 2019 edition continues as part of the "Sendai Seven" campaign, centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year will focus on Target (d) of the Sendai Framework: “Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and education facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.”
Given the high death tolls, notably in earthquakes and tsunamis, it is especially important that great care is taken to ensure that schools and hospitals are built to last by ensuring that location and hazard-appropriate planning regulations and building codes are enforced. Other areas of critical infrastructure which help to achieve other Sendai Framework targets include potentially life-saving utilities and services such as food and water supply, energy, telecommunications and transport.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), urge all citizens and governments to be part in efforts to establish communities and societies that will make more disaster- resilient nations. We believe they should be an advocacy platform to all governments, local governments, disaster management agencies, UN agencies, NGOs, Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, civil society groups, businesses, academic and scientific institutions, and other interested groups to demonstrate support for gender-sensitive implementation of the Sendai Framework and to highlight achievements and challenges in so doing with a particular focus on reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters.
Therefore, let us tackle vulnerability to significantly reduce the risk of disaster and build safer and more resilient communities, through a combination of disaster preparedness and community-led mitigation measures.