Tehran hosts International Seminar on Urban Disaster Risk Reduction & Management

Published: 6 May 2015 11:04 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

The Iranian capital of Tehran is currently hosting the first International Seminar on Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Management with the objective of building urban resilience and increasing the efficiency of disaster risk reduction and disaster management programmes in cities and urban areas, amid the increasingly worrying signs of climate change which are affecting many parts of the world.

More than 100 disaster management and risk reduction experts from Red Cross and Red Crescent societies around the world, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), United Nations agencies, governmental bodies and research centres are gathering in Tehran between 4 and 7 May to discuss means to scale up disaster management and risk reduction efforts in cities and urban areas around the world.

The event, which is hosted by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran, comes at a time when natural disasters and other catastrophes are taking their toll on entire communities, killing thousands and causing severe and irreversible harm to old civilizations. In this context, adopting means to protect urban areas has become a must.

Commenting on the international seminar, Dr Amir Mohsen Ziaee, the President of the Iranian National Society, said: “Major disasters which took place in recent years such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the great East Japan triple disaster in 2011, Philippines’ typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the very recent earthquake in Nepal are just some examples of the destructive effects of disasters in urban areas.”

“Effective disaster risk reduction and management measures are more critical than ever, particularly in urban contexts,” stated Dr Ziaee.

Last month, a deadly earthquake hit the South Asian country of Nepal, killing more than 7,000 people, while thousands others are still missing and believed to be trapped under the rubble.

In this context, IFRC Head of Community Preparedness and Risk Reduction Mr Mohammed Mukhier said that the Nepal Red Cross Society “has been at the heart of disaster preparedness and has worked alongside government and non-governmental partners to put plans in place in the event of major earthquake.”

“These efforts have made a definite difference to how Kathmandu has responded to the earthquake,” Mr Mukhier added.

The IFRC has been actively engaged in global and regional processes and initiatives for building urban resilience, and has highlighted and advocated for the role of people and communities in this regard and for the role of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in global initiatives aimed at building urban resilience. In this respect, the Federation launched in 2014 the One Billion Coalition for Resilience, an initiative aimed at increasing the civic engagement and actions of communities on resilience to ensure that they are capable of choosing solutions that are convenient for their local needs, drawing on local resources and knowledge.