The International Day for Disaster Reduction was initiated on 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 annually on 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.
Every two years, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) works with thinkers, practitioners, experts and innovators to investigate the state of risk across the globe: highlighting what’s new, spotting emerging trends, revealing disturbing patterns, examining behaviour, and presenting progress in reducing risk. The findings make up the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.
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.
This year's theme for the International Day for Disaster Reduction is: “good disaster risk governance” and is about conveying the message that many disasters can be avoided or prevented if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place to manage and reduce existing levels of risk and to avoid the creation of new risk. 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.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that young people should be part of the advocacy and decision making platforms together with representatives of governments, local governments, disaster management agencies, United Nations agencies, NGOs, 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.
We also urge young people and other stakeholders to be part in efforts to establish communities that will make more disaster resilient nations. 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. It is time to raise our game if we want to leave a more resilient planet to future generations.
Establishment of good national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction must be multi-sectoral, linking policies in areas such as: land use, building codes, public health, education, agriculture, environmental protection, energy, water resources, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation.