More cities sign up for UN drive for disaster resilience
18 Mar 2015
SENDAI, Japan—From only 1,400 in 2012, the number of cities and other communities worldwide that have signed up for the United Nations’ “Making Cities Resilient to Disaster” campaign has reached more than 2,400, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
However, only 120-plus of the local government units are in the Philippines, where there are a total of 144 cities, 81 provinces, 1,490 municipalities and 42,028 barangays (villages).
Since its launch in May 2010, the UN campaign “has acted as a vehicle for local governments to give more attention to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and develop partnerships with key stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector and academics,” noted the Geneva-based UN agency.
In a briefing paper released during the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) hosted by this northeastern Japanese city from March 14 to 18, the UN agency said a total of 121 nations—including the Philippines—have enacted disaster risk reduction and management (DRMM) legislation to establish policy and legal frameworks.
It had earlier cited the Philippines for the 2010 passage of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Act, which it described as a “proactive approach to disaster risk governance.”
The law, passed during the Arroyo administration, obliges local government units (LGU) to earmark 5 percent of their total revenues to DRR. LGUs may also use 20 percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment from the national government on enhancing resilience.
The UN agency also reported that 86 countries—including the Philippines—“have set up formal national coordinating bodies for DRR, which help create a common language, vision and understanding of the responsibility for the program nationally.”
In Manila, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which is coordinated by the Office of Civil Defense, an agency attached to the Department of National Defense, oversees the government’s DRRM efforts.
It promotes a “whole-of-society” approach in achieving its goal of maintaining safer, adaptive and resilient communities toward sustainable development through four interrelated thematic areas—“prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and rehabilitation and recovery.”
In its report, the UN agency noted that “mortality from weather-related disasters is in decline in many countries like Cuba, Bangladesh, India, Mozambique and the Philippines due to risk information and early warning systems.”