|Dr. Satterthwaite, IFAD Senior Fellow|
The United Nations (UN) has found out that political leadership is very crucial in terms of protecting lives and economic assets of cities from disasters.
The 2012 report of Making Cities Resilient, a major urban safety campaign launched two years ago by UN revealed to NaijaAgroNet that local governments through a team led by a Senior Fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Dr. David Satterthwaite, had reduce disaster risk.
A press release made available to NaijaAgroNet by IIED revealed that despite rise in extreme weather events, Dr. Satterthwaite’s team affirmed that the Making Cities Resilient campaign is proving that urbanization does not have to lead to an increase in risk. "Where city and local governments demonstrate leadership and competence in working with low-income populations living in informal settlements flood impacts can be reduced and the threats from other natural hazards minimized," part of the report stated.
The campaign created by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction now have over 1,050 members from major metropolis across San Francisco, Copenhagen, Cape Town and Mumbai to small towns in countries such as Austria and Pakistan.
Margareta Wahlström, the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction also disclosed that over $100 billion, about N16.1 trillion is lost to disasters annually for the past two decades.
"Most of these damages can be avoided through better risk management and investment in social and structural infrastructure," said Wahlström that some communities are already leveraging on whatever resources they have to reduce the impact of disaster event in their environs.
Wahlström cited an example of such communities to be the local government of Siquirres in Costa Rica which joined the campaign and in six months was able to avoid the usual annual flood of February in 2012.
"There are many cities like Siquirres which are proving that if you manage your risks, you build your resilience to disasters and avoid unnecessary disruption in the home and the workplace,” she concluded.
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