Launch of the IFRC and Iranian Red Crescent partnership on urban disaster risk reduction and management

Published: 17 June 2013 15:07 CET

Today more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, with an additional two billion urban residents expected in the next 20 years. Much of the population growth is expected in small and medium-sized cities in developing countries, yet 1.2 billion urban residents already live in slums, and this too is expected to grow.

Many of the world’s major cities are located in areas exposed to major geological and meteorological hazards, for example, on the coast, on floodplains, or in tectonically active areas. Urban areas concentrate disaster risk due to the aggregation of people, infrastructure and assets, urban expansion and inadequate management and, therefore, suffer greater fatalities and economic losses than rural areas.

The Red Cross Red Crescent is well-placed to make a measurable and positive impact on building resilient cities. With a call for urgent action for urban risk reduction given by the World Disaster Report  2010, there has been an increase in the number of National Societies engaged in urban risk reduction activities.  

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran have agreed to work together through a partnership to support National Societies in scaling up their activities for risk reduction and resilience building in urban areas and to develop policy and operational guidance for RCRC programming for resilient cities. This will be achieved through scaling up activities to reduce urban disaster risks and vulnerability and strengthening Movement capacities to effectively respond to urban disasters.

Specific outputs will include mapping Red Cross Red Crescent work in urban areas, developing National Societies’ long-term strategic plans for building urban resilience and  implementation of pilot projects in selected cities, field testing current tools for use in an urban context, improving disaster preparedness for timely and effective response to urban disasters, and supporting the capacity building of National Societies to prepare for and respond to various disasters in urban areas. The partnership will also help develop the IFRC’s policies and guidelines for urban disaster response and resilience building.

In the framework of the partnership, regional consultations and studies in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East and North Africa will be carried out and IFRC global position and policy – as well as specific operational tools on urban disaster risk reduction and management – will be developed.