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UNISDR, Gulf States Cooperation Council Host DRR Workshop

18 January 2013: The UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States (GCC) co-hosted a regional workshop on disaster risk reduction (DRR), which heard calls for stronger commitments in the Gulf region towards the development of a DRR strategy.

At the workshop, titled "Reducing and managing disaster risk and implementing the Hyogo For Action (HFA)," which took place from 13-16 January 2013, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, GCC Secretary-General Abdul-Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani listed five targets for a strategy for DRR in the region, namely: protecting the security and stability of GCC countries; maintaining sustainable economic growth; achieving human development; increasing disaster response capacity; and enhancing regional and international cooperation. 

Amjad Abbashar, Head of UNISDR's Regional Office for Arab States, indicated UNISDR's willingness to assist the GCC in its reporting on the Hyogo Framework for Action and engage Gulf States in the ongoing consultations for a new framework in 2015.

Abdel Aziz Hamza, Director of the GCC Disaster Management Center, stressed the need to raise awareness of DRR in the Gulf region, strengthen capacities in DRR, and promote the use and transfer of technologies to address disasters.

The workshop, which brought together 50 participants from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), also was attended by experts from various national and regional agencies, as well as the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

According to UNISDR, the Gulf countries are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, sand storms, storm surges, flash floods and cyclones. [UNISDR Press Release] [GCC Website]