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On International Day, ISDR Calls for Stepping Up for Disaster Risk Reduction

13 October 2011: The UN marked the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13 October. Acknowledging that an estimated 100 million children and young people are affected by disasters, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) and its partners invited this group to “Step Up for Disaster Risk Reduction.”

In his speech to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that disaster risk reduction (DRR) should be a daily concern for everyone, noting that “investments in early warning and other measures are paying dividends.”

Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for DRR and Head of UN/ISDR, stated that when young people are empowered “with information and skills training, they are important actors in disaster management.”

UN/ISDR is working with its partners the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Plan, Save the Children and World Vision, to promote the new Children's Charter for DRR, developed in consultations with hundreds of children in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The charter includes priorities for resilience, including that: schools must be safe and education not interrupted; children have the right to participate and to access the information they need in order to protect their communities as well as themselves from disaster risks and climate change; children are sensitive to the erosion of investments in development infrastructure and want infrastructure to be safe and well-located with good road access; and children are also concerned that special attention be paid to people who are vulnerable because of a range of factors including disability, age, gender, location and social status.

UN/ISDR also marked the Day with a plea to mayors and leaders of the 800 cities and local governments who have signed up to the Ten Essentials of UN/ISDR's “Making Cities Resilient” Campaign, requesting them to plan for safe schools and child protection in the event of disaster. UN/ISDR also noted that as governments prepare for the Durban negotiations on climate change and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio +20), children are ready and willing to participate in measures to tackle both disaster risk and climate change. [UN Press Release] [UN/ISDR International Day for Disaster Reduction Press Release] [UNESCAP Press Release] [UN/ISDR Children's Charter Film Press Release] [UN/ISDR Children's Charter Press Release] [2011 International Day for Disaster Reduction Website]