Scaling up urban disaster management and risk reduction measures more critical than ever, said Red Cross Red Crescent

Published: 4 May 2015

4 May 2015, Tehran – Over 100 disaster management and risk reduction experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, as well as partners such as the United Nations, government agencies and research centres are gathered at the International Seminar on Urban Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Tehran. Hosted by the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 4 to 7 May, the seminar aims to ensure that disaster management and risk reduction efforts are effectively brought to scale in cities and urban areas.

According to His Excellency Dr Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mayor of Tehran: “This seminar is an important opportunity for us to plan for the future together. We must take our discussions seriously and commit to implementing more effective measures as people around the world are faced with increased risks, with the rapid rate of urbanization and most of the world’s population settling in cities.’’

Dr Amir Mohsen Ziaee, President of the Iranian Red Crescent said: “Major disasters in recent years such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the great East Japan triple disaster in 2011, typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013 and the very recent earthquake in Nepal are just some examples of the destructive effects of disasters in urban areas, claiming lives and properties, bringing devastation to communities and countries and clearly showing that effective disaster risk reduction and management measures are more critical now than ever, particularly in urban contexts”

In 2008, for the first time in human history, the number of global urban inhabitants outnumbered rural inhabitants. Urbanization, aside from the social and economic opportunities it provides communities and states, is also a source of risk to many people. The pace, scope and nature of urbanization can trigger and heighten humanitarian crises, threatening lives and livelihoods, assets, properties and reversing hard earned development gains.

“Urbanization, coupled with increasing frequency and intensity of natural hazards aggravated by climate change, is an emerging humanitarian challenge,” said Mr Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC Head of Community Preparedness and Risk Reduction. “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,” he added.

“Reducing vulnerability is a process that must be people-centered - owned, led and carried out by the people themselves to bring about lasting change,” said Mr Mukhier.

“We must recognize that resilience comes from individuals and communities themselves, and we need to work with them in the process of reconnecting with their own power and taking ownership of their lives.”


This has been exemplified by the pilot urban disaster risk reduction projects carried out by the IFRC in partnership with the Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Nairobi, La Paz, Jakarta, Yerevan and in Tehran itself.

“Following this forum, we have an opportunity to collectively bring our efforts to scale up environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and management, and environmental protection efforts in countries across the globe, through a global tripartite  agreement  between the IFRC, the Red Crescent in Iran and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Mr Mukhier.

For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:

In Tehran:

  • Hassan Esfandiar, communication and media affairs, international division, Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Email:  - Mobile: +98 912 402 3530

In Beirut:

Soraya Dali-Balta, Communications Officer, IFRC

Email: – Mobile: +961 5 428419  

In Geneva:

  • Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Team Leader, Public Communications and Outreach, IFRC

E-mail:  - Mobile: +41 79 213 2413

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil­lion people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.