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Action on climate change crucial to water and food security, Ban stresses at UN event

27 September 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called again for urgent and concrete action on climate change, as high-level officials gathered at the United Nations to discuss the growing global concern over the impacts of the phenomenon on food and water security.

“Action on climate change remains a major piece of unfinished business,” Mr. Ban told an event hosted by Qatar on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 67th session of the General Assembly.

Last December, Member States agreed to reach a legally binding agreement on climate change by 2015, he said, referring to the decision taken by the 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at their conference in Durban, South Africa.

“Two days ago I called on Member States to make good on this promise. Time is running out on our ability to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees centigrade.”

It is vital for everyone to work together to make the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in the Qatari capital of Doha from 26 November to 7 December, “a major stepping stone to a global, robust and legally binding climate regime,” said Mr. Ban.

The world, he said, is witnessing the highest levels of emissions ever; the Arctic sea ice is again at an all-time low; and it is another record year for wild fires, droughts and flooding. Climate change is making weather patterns both extreme and unpredictable, contributing to volatility in global food prices, which means food and nutrition insecurity for the poor and the most vulnerable.

The Secretary-General has made food security a top priority through the Zero Hunger Challenge he launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June.

The initiative aims for a future where every individual has adequate nutrition and where all food systems are resilient. Its five objectives are to make sure that everyone in the world has access to enough nutritious food all year long; to end childhood stunting; to build sustainable food systems; to double the productivity and income of smallholder farmers, especially women; and to prevent food from being lost or wasted.

Ending hunger will mean climate-smart, climate-resilient agriculture, as well as policies that are water-smart, energy-efficient, and that promote inclusive green growth, Mr. Ban said.

Also crucial is more private and public investment in science, innovation and applied research, as well as innovative partnerships among farmers, governments, businesses, academia, international organizations and civil society.

“But our efforts will come to naught if we don’t work together to slow down the carbon emissions that are warming the planet,” Mr. Ban stated.

He called on governments to adopt the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol when they meet later this year in Doha. The first commitment period of the Protocol, the legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expires this year.

“The emission reduction targets of the new Kyoto treaty are not sufficient – we know that – but they are necessary starting point from which to build a future global agreement by 2015,” he stated.

It is also important to address the gap between fast-start finance and long-term finance so that by 2020 climate finance is being mobilized at the agreed level of $100 billion a year, he said, calling for accelerating efforts to make the Green Climate Fund, approved last year in Durban, fully operational.

“This is the path to water and food security,” he stated.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43082&Cr=climate+change&Cr1=

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Nepali activist receives UN-backed award for work on forest management

27 September 2012 – Nepali activist Narayan Kaji Shrestha has been honoured with the first-ever Wangari Maathai Award for his work promoting community forest management, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

The Award, which was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), of which FAO is an active member, seeks to recognize efforts to improve and sustain forests and to honour the memory of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

“Narayan Kaji Shrestha’s work captures the spirit of Wangari Maathai,” said FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales. “His vision, courage, commitment, intelligence and praxis is recognized though this award.”

Mr. Kaji Shrestha guided early attempts to create a more participatory approach to community decision-making, reaching out to women and low-caste villagers and initiating the country’s first community forestry group. Today, more than one-quarter of Nepal’s forests are protected by community forestry groups, FAO said in a news release.

The prize includes a cash award of $20,000. This year, the jury decided to give a special Honourable Mention prize of $2,000 to Kurshida Begum of Bangladesh for her “exceptional efforts” in helping women of her village form a community patrol group alongside forest department guards to protect the forests and biodiversity of the Tenkaf Wildlife Sanctuary from illegal logging and poaching.

Mr. Kaji Shrestha and Ms. Begum were honoured in a ceremony at the Committee on Forestry, at FAO headquarters in Rome, which was attended by Rosemary Wanjiru Maina, niece of Wangari Maathai, and Professor Stephen Kiama Gitahi of the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests is comprised of 14 international organizations working together to promote forest management, conservation and sustainable development.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43065&Cr=forest&Cr1=

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Leadership of Pacific island nations vital to tackling global challenges, says Ban

26 September 2012 – The United Nations is counting on the leadership and active engagement of Pacific island nations in tackling some of today’s pressing challenges, including achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), advancing sustainable development and promoting gender equality, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“Now more than ever, we must work to align our priorities and objectives,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the first-ever meeting of the UN and Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at UN Headquarters in New York.

He also reaffirmed his commitment at the meeting, held on the margins of the high-level debate of the 67th General Assembly, to enhancing cooperation and support for tackling the region’s challenges, such as climate change, gender equality and peace and security in the region.

The UN and the region must continue to join forces to advance sustainable development, said Mr. Ban, highlighting the need to lay the groundwork to generate new momentum for addressing the needs and priorities of small island developing States (SIDS) at an international conference to be held in 2014.

Last month in Yeosu, Republic of Korea, the Secretary-General launched an “Oceans Compact,” that will bring the UN system together to help Member States protect oceans and promote sustainable development. It also engages non-governmental organizations and other partners including the private sector, academia and the science community.

“I welcome your efforts to create Marine Protected Areas, which should help ensure a more responsible use of the region’s vast ocean and marine resources,” Mr. Ban told the gathering.

Noting that Pacific States are also particularly vulnerable to disasters, he recognized the work done by these countries and their partners to implement the Pacific Regional Disaster Risk Management Framework of Action.

“Maintaining regional peace and security, and upholding human rights and the rule of law are also vital,” stressed the Secretary-General.

With the withdrawal of the Regional Assistance Mission for the Solomon Islands next year, it is important to ensure that the country receives the required support for a smooth transition, he said. “The United Nations stands ready to assist you in achieving your security and governance objectives.”

He also noted that Fiji has embarked on a process of writing a new constitution, which is expected to lead to democratic elections in 2014. “The United Nations welcomes the steps taken so far, including voter registration and the establishment of a constitutional commission. We stand ready to support a process that would lead to the establishment of democratic order and the rule of law.

“I trust that the Pacific neighbours will keep encouraging Fiji to make progress towards full respect for human rights, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness,” Mr. Ban added.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43031&Cr=Small+Island&Cr1=

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Modernizing Russian forest sector has economic and environmental benefits

25 September 2012 – Russia’s forest sector needs to be modernized using technologies to maximize its potential as a global mitigator of climate change and an important source of timber, according to a new study presented today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government.

The Russian Forest Sector Outlook Study to 2030 states that lack of governance, outdated equipment and under-financing are among major factors that impede the development of the forest sector in Russia – which has more than a fifth of the world’s forests, but whose share of the global trade in forest products is less than four per cent.

The report urges immediate action on modernizing the country’s forest sector, as well as increasing its investment attractiveness, stimulating domestic demand for forest products such as wooden housing and furniture, addressing the illegal logging issues and reforming forest public institutions and legislation.

“The study broadens our knowledge about the huge opportunities and possible development potential of the Russian Federation’s forest sector,” FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry Eduardo Rojas-Briales stated in a news release.

“Modernizing Russia’s forests will have a positive impact on social, economic and environmental conditions in the Russian Federation and will contribute to the development of world forestry, forest industry, wood trade and the environment.”

FAO noted that forests in Russia – the largest forest country in the world – play a crucial role in stabilizing the globe’s climate.

The country provided more than 90 per cent of the carbon sink of the world’s boreal forests in 2000-2007. Estimates of the average carbon sink in Russian forests during the past 10 years are between 500 and 700 million tonnes per year.

There is a serious risk, however, that the carbon emissions from the permafrost lands of Russia are likely to exceed current emissions from tropical deforestation by several times, if global warming becomes a reality, added FAO.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43005&Cr=forest&Cr1=

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With new leadership, Ban seeks to boost efforts to achieve sustainable energy for all

24 September 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of a new United Nations envoy to spearhead efforts to achieve sustainable energy for all, as well as other arrangements that will not only help transform the world’s energy systems but also the lives of billions of people.

Speaking at a high-level event held on the margins of the General Assembly, Mr. Ban confirmed that he had asked Kandeh Yumkella, currently the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Chair of the umbrella group known as UN-Energy, to serve as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.

Mr. Yumkella will also serve as chief executive of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative the Secretary-General launched last September, with the aim of providing universal energy access, doubling the rate of global energy efficiency improvement, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

“Providing sustainable energy for all could be the biggest opportunity of the 21st century,” said Mr. Ban. “Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and a climate and environment that enables the world to thrive. This initiative is bringing together governments, the private sector, and civil society in a partnership that’s delivering real results.”

In addition, Mr. Ban announced that he had invited the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, to serve with him as co-chair of the initiative’s newly formed Advisory Board. The Board will provide strategic guidance to the work of the initiative. Its members, who will be announced soon, will be drawn from the private sector, civil society and governments that have shown exceptional leadership.

The Secretary-General also announced the creation of an Executive Committee, to be chaired by Chairman of the Bank of America, Chad Holliday, which will provide operational oversight for the work of the chief executive. As well, a global support team will be established to strengthen coordination among various partners.

“We are not establishing a new institution, but rather, building on what already exists and works well,” Mr. Ban told the event. “With these four elements, Sustainable Energy for All is poised to draw in new partners and become a global network that can help transform the world’s energy systems – and the lives of billions of people.”

He said that the initiative aims to provide more than one billion people with access to modern energy services during its lifespan.

“This is how Sustainable Energy for All will be measured – by children newly able to study after dark, mothers breathing healthy air, doctors caring for the sick night and day, businesses seeing new prosperity, a cleaner environment and a path that will help us to avoid the catastrophe of climate change.”

According to a news release, Mr. Yumkella said he is ready to take this “path-breaking” initiative to the next level. “We will continue to work with all key stakeholders to achieve sustainable energy for all and drive real action on the ground – action that transforms lives, communities, economies and the environment,” he said.

Since its launch one year ago, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative has attracted the voluntary participation of some 60 developing countries; mobilized more than $50 billion from the private sector and investors; and catalyzed hundreds of actions and commitments in support of the three core objectives of the initiative.

Today’s event saw significant new commitments to action, including a pledge by the Inter-American Development Bank for $5 billion in five years for work related to the initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Also, the electronics manufacturing firm Philips has announced it will install 100 “light centres” across rural Africa that are the size of small soccer fields and lit using a new generation of highly efficient solar powered LED lighting.

Other commitments to action include one by Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world’s largest producer of solar panels, to donate up to 300 kilowatts of solar panels to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to help the hospital reduce its dependence on expensive diesel generators and improve access to electricity.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42979&Cr=energy&Cr1=

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Thousands of UN peacekeepers to receive training on environmental management

21 September 2012 – Thousands of United Nations peacekeepers around the world will soon be able to improve their natural resources management through a training programme launched today by the world body’s environmental agency.

“The ‘blue helmets’ carry out demanding work, in difficult situations, where clean water, forests and other key resources are often already under pressure. This training programme is a critical step towards making peacekeeping operations more sustainable and effective,” said the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner, said in a news release.

“Such greening measures can serve to reduce conflict, and to make an important contribution to global efforts to improve resource efficiency and meet the challenges of climate change,” he added.

According to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), there are close to 120,000 people serving as UN peacekeepers – in military, police and civilian capacities – in 16 DPKO-led peace operations around the world.

The course, which is expected to be delivered to thousands of military, police and civilian peacekeepers over the next year through an online learning platform, follows the Greening the Blue Helmets report produced by UNEP earlier this year, which analyzed how peacekeeping missions around the world affect, and are affected by, natural resources and the broader environment.

The study found that while UN peacekeeping operations play a key role in the recovery and stability of countries emerging from conflict, they have a large environmental footprint and can place considerable demands on local resources in fragile environments. The report makes a set of recommendations as to how sustainability measures can be improved in all missions.

A number of peacekeeping missions have already adopted environmental policies and undertaken a range of measures to improve resource efficiency, UNEP said in a news release.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has introduced several environmental practices, ranging from the use of electric cars at the mission’s headquarters in the southern town of Naqoura, to energy-efficient power generation and the establishment of a community-led recycling plant.

At the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), switching off equipment or adjusting room temperature settings have resulted in a 15 per cent reduction of energy consumption. According to UNEP, a simple measure like this one could save $95.7 million annually if it was implemented across all missions.

The new training programme, which was compiled with the technical assistance of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), aims to disseminate these good practices to all missions and to encourage investments in new technologies, practices and behaviours that can reduce the overall environmental footprint of peacekeeping.

The launch of the programme also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Peace, which is being commemorated this year under the theme “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42951&Cr=environment&Cr1=

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Ozone layer on track to recover over next five decades, Ban says on International Day

16 September 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has hailed the efforts of the international community in protecting the atmosphere, noting that with the global phase-out of 98 per cent of ozone-depleting gases, the ozone layer is now on track to recover over the next five decades.

“I urge Governments and all partners to apply the same spirit to the other great environment and development challenges of our times. Together, we can achieve the future we want,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, observed annually on 16 September.

The date commemorates the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which aims to protect the ozone layer by taking measures to control total global production and consumption of substances that deplete it, with the ultimate objective of their elimination.

The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, thus helping preserve life on the planet. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Protocol, and Mr. Ban congratulated all who have made the treaty such an “outstanding example” of international cooperation.

The Protocol, he said, “is not merely a success in meeting its immediate objectives, it offers substantive lessons and inspiration in addressing other global challenges and turning them into opportunities for common progress.”

Millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts, as well as the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on the environment, have already been avoided, he noted. The Protocol has also catalyzed considerable innovation in the chemical and equipment manufacturing industry, resulting in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.

He said action under the Protocol has also had significant climate benefits. Many of these substances have been phased out, such as chlorofluorocarbons once used in products such as hairsprays, which are significant greenhouse gases.

“Nonetheless, the challenges are not over,” said Mr. Ban. “Governments must maintain their commitment to finish the job and avert additional problems. The use of hydrofluorocarbons – ozone-friendly chemicals that are also powerful greenhouse gases – is growing rapidly to replace ozone-depleting substances.

“The Montreal Protocol has demonstrated that fundamental principles – such as science-based policy making, the precautionary approach, common but differentiated responsibilities and equity within and between generations – can benefit all nations.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42902&Cr=ozone&Cr1=

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At UN-backed conference, African countries adopt sustainable development measures

14 September 2012 – Environment ministers and representatives from over 40 African countries today adopted a set of programmes to boost sustainable development on the continent, agreeing to fully engage with the implementation of the outcome document of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference which was adopted in June.

For three days, government officials at the 14th regular session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in Arusha, Tanzania tackled some of the challenges that threaten the future of the region such as land degradation, climate change, deforestation, low agricultural productivity and poverty.

The Conference marked the first time that African environment ministers met since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June, in which more than 100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders sought to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.

At AMCEN, Ministers adopted documents which will promote an inclusive green economy as well as strengthen the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The ministers requested additional measures beyond the Rio+20 agreement, including upgrading regional UNEP offices and establishing five sub-regional offices in Africa, as well as establishing a universal membership body known as the Environment Assembly, with a ministerial segment called the Ministerial Conference on Environment.

The Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa, Mounkaila Goumandakoye, said UNEP would support all the decisions adopted by the ministers.

“In addition to the provision of secretariat services, our support will focus on scientific and technical advisory services as we increase assistance to African countries in the implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes, taking into account the threat that climate change continues to pose,” he said.

“Our collaboration with AMCEN will also focus on programmatic support in the design and implementation of programmes, in line with the regional flagship programmes identified at this session, that respond to the needs and priorities of countries in the areas of sound environmental management,” he added.

Other agreements included a commitment to engage in the promotion of sustainable development, the initiation of an African Green Economy partnership to eradicate poverty and create decent jobs, and an agreement to halt soil degradation in the Sahel region.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42897&Cr=sustainable+development&Cr1=

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Ahead of Doha gathering, concrete progress made at Bangkok climate talks

5 September 2012 – A week of informal climate talks in Bangkok has allowed Member States to make concrete progress on key issues, providing a positive momentum for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in November in Doha, Qatar, a UN senior official said today.

“The investment in Bangkok has paid off. Government negotiators have pushed forward key issues further than many had expected and raised the prospects for a next successful step in Doha,” said the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres.

“There are still some tough political decisions ahead, but we now have a positive momentum and a greater sense of convergence that will stimulate higher-level political discussions ahead of Doha and set a faster pace of work once this year’s conference begins,” she added.

During the previous UNFCCC conference, in Durban, South Africa, 194 parties to the UNFCCC agreed on a package of decisions – known as the Durban Platform – which include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol, which legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets, and the launch of the Green Climate Fund, which was created to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures.

Nations also set specific objectives for the meeting in Doha, which will take place from 26 November to 7 December. These objectives include triggering a new phase of climate action and filling in the gaps in the international policy response to climate change.

According to UNFCCC, the Bangkok climate talks began to address these objectives, and produced a document outlining what needs to be done to resolve differences of opinion among countries.

The talks also made progress in various areas, including plans for a mechanism to boost international cooperation on climate action, financing for the initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and identifying points where negotiating groups might need additional decisions in Doha in order to close successfully.

During the Bangkok talks, countries also discussed the necessary steps to negotiate a global climate change agreement that could be adopted in 2015 and enter into force in 2020, as well as ways to raise global ambitions to cut greenhouse gas emissions faster.

There are now 195 Parties to the Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. The treaty also recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42810&Cr=&Cr1=

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UN calls for action to reduce health and environmental risks posed by use of chemicals

Governments must urgently act to reduce the health and environmental hazards posed by the increase in use of chemicals in industries worldwide, says a United Nations report launched today, which stresses that more sustainable management policies are needed to address this growing risk.

Produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Chemicals Outlook report argues that a shift in the production, use and disposal of chemical products from developed to developing countries has made it essential to establish better management policies to avoid diseases and pollution caused by weak regulations.

“Communities worldwide – particularly those in emerging and developing countries – are increasingly dependent on chemical products, from fertilizers and petrochemicals to electronics and plastics, for economic development and improving livelihoods,” said UNEP’s Executive Director, Achim Steiner, in a news release.

“But the gains that chemicals can provide must not come at the expense of human health and the environment. Pollution and disease related to the unsustainable use, production and disposal of chemicals can, in fact, hinder progress towards key development targets by affecting water supplies, food security, well-being or worker productivity,” Mr. Steiner said, adding that improving chemicals management is a vital component for countries to transition into a green economy.

The report highlights not just the damaging consequences to the environment and human health, but also the economic burden of treating chemical poisoning for many countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the estimated costs of poisonings from pesticides now exceeds the total annual overseas development aid given to the region for basic health services, excluding HIV/AIDS.

From Sudan and Ecuador, to bigger economies such as China and the United States, the costs of pesticide poisoning, water pollution, and toxic waste, among other issues, are not being borne by manufacturers and industries, but by social welfare systems and individuals, the report notes. It calls for sustainable chemical management policies not just to combat these costs, but also to improve livelihoods and develop green technologies.

“The economic analysis presented in the Global Chemicals Outlook demonstrates that sound chemicals management is as valid an area as education, transport, infrastructure, direct health care services and other essential public services,” said the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director for Public Health and Environment, Maria Neira, in a news release. “This could foster the creation of many green, decent and healthy jobs and livelihoods for developed and developing countries.”

Some of the recommendations put forward by the report include the integration of chemicals management into national social and economic plans, the development of policies focused on risk prevention and promotion of safer alternatives, and encouraging the private sector to play a more active role in development safety policies in conjunction with governments.

“To harness the economic benefits of sound chemicals management, closer cooperation and better planning is required between government ministries, public and private sectors, and others in the chemicals supply chain,” Mr. Steiner said.

“This requires broad and ambitious efforts, underpinned by strategic financing. Such action can elevate chemicals management to the top of the international policy agenda and help deliver inclusive sustainable development,” he added.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42803&Cr=Sustainable+Development&Cr1=

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UN celebrates disaster preparedness of Australian capital city

The capital of Australia has been recognized as one of a group of global cities serving as role models in disaster risk management, the United Nations office tasked with disaster risk reduction announced today.

Due to its exposure to natural hazards such as flash floods, bush fires, severe thunderstorms and snowfalls, the city of Canberra developed the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan – an extensive organization and coordination mechanism to mitigate the city’s risk from calamities.

Speaking at the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum, held in Naples, Italy, the head of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, praised Canberra’s disaster risk reduction efforts and welcomed the city as an official Role Model for the ‘Making Cities Resilient Campaign’ – a UN-sponsored initiative which aims to reduce urban risks from climate-related disasters.

A series of devastating bushfires in January 2003 prompted the Australian Capital Territory – in which the city of Canberra is located – to initiate the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan, which includes community education and awareness, construction and upgrading of water points, helicopter landing pads, fuel breaks, infrastructure to facilitate grazing and prescribed burning for fuel management.

The initiative also established over 50 Community Fire Units in high bushfire risk areas providing residents with training, equipment and support.

“Canberra has shown us how important organizational capacity is when it comes to building resilience against a wide range of natural hazards in the most disaster-prone region of the world,” Ms. Wahlström said, adding that the ‘Making Cities Resilient Campaign’ now boasted over 1,000 members worldwide.

There are currently 25 partners working with UNISDR to support the campaign, which seeks to give cities a forum to share their experiences and expertise, especially given that risks are on the upswing due to increases in weather-related disasters.

One partner, the Local Governments for Sustainability, counts a global membership of over 1,200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations.

The World Urban Forum was established by the UN to examine one of the most pressing problems facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

Held every two years, the Forum brings together a wide range of participants from around the world to discuss key urban challenges. The main theme of the Sixth Forum, in Naples, is ‘The Urban Future.’

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42798&Cr=Disaster+Risk&Cr1=

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