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UNISDR Names Venetian Mayor Urban Resilience Champion

28 March 2012: The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has announced that the Mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, has been named Europe's first Champion of Urban Resilience. The award was presented at the UNISDR Building Cities Resilience to Disasters in Europe: Protecting Cultural Heritage and Adapting to Climate Change conference.  

Orsoni was recognized for his efforts to build the resilience of Venice, in particular in response to the heightened risk of flooding from sea level rise, resulting from climate change. The conference was attended by European mayors, representatives of local and national governments working on disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Europe, as well as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and private sector, and UN agencies, including the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT), and UNISDR.

Participants adopted the "Venice Declaration on Building Resilience at the Local Level towards Protected Cultural Heritage and Climate Change Adaptation Strategies," which recognizes the importance of cities as “a physical store of cultural heritage” and that urban disaster risks are one of the most significant threats to the preservation of such assets.

Also at the two-day event, Dubrovnik and Zagreb, Croatia, became the latest European cities to join the Making Cities Resilient Campaign. In addition, Nice, France, was formally recognized as a role model city for "involving citizens in building resilience and creating a risk culture: Intelligent City."

The Making Cities Resilient Campaign, launched in 2010, demonstrates local leadership and raises awareness of how efforts to reduce disaster risk are making cities safer and more resilient. The Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient include: organization and coordination of risk management; budget assignation; preparation of risk assessments; investment and maintenance of infrastructure that reduces risk; safe schools and health facilities; risk compliant building regulations and land use planning; education and training in disaster reduction; protection of ecosystems and natural buffers; early warning systems and emergency management; and the needs of survivors.

The UN/ISDR Building Cities Resilience to Disasters in Europe: Protecting Cultural Heritage and Adapting to Climate Change conference convened from 19-20 March, in Venice, Italy. [UNISDR Press Release]