International Day for Disaster Reduction
MESSAGE FROM MS IRINA BOKOVA, DIRECTOR GENERAL UNESCO On the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October 2013
We know that disasters are increasing in frequency, complexity, scope and destructive capacity. We know also that, while we cannot stop disasters, we can do more to prevent and mitigate their impact.
This means thinking over the long term. Early warning systems and humanitarian efforts remain essential – but we must focus also on underlying vulnerabilities and risks in order to deepen resilience. Disaster risk reduction should be integrated into development plans and intervention strategies, and greater attention should be paid to education and training, which can save and sustain lives during and after emergencies.
All our efforts must include persons with disabilities. Representing an estimated 10 percent of the world's population, some 650 million people, these women and men are too often overlooked throughout the disaster management cycle, especially the response phase, and too seldom considered important actors – even though they are often most exposed. In moving forward, we must remain guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which requires that persons with disabilities benefit from and participate in disaster relief, emergency response and disaster risk reduction strategies.
Disasters must be an opportunity to challenge prejudice and discrimination and to ‘build back better,’ by ensuring the inclusion of all women and men. Adults and children living with disabilities have an essential role to play in strengthening resilience before and after disasters.
This must include support to cultural heritage and expressions. UNESCO’s experience in supporting the Carnival of Jacmel in Haiti after the earthquake shows the power of intangible cultural heritage as a source of strength in helping communities recover. Science, technology and engineering are also important, to mobilise the knowledge necessary to better protect persons with disabilities. The media is critical for facilitating the flow of information between persons with disabilities and humanitarian actors in disaster situations. In Kenya, UNESCO has organized a National Forum of Community Radios on the occasion of this International Day, to enable community media practitioners and community actors to share knowledge and experience.
Education must be a strategic priority. This is why UNESCO is advancing initiatives for inclusive disaster risk reduction in schools across the world. We have also set up a web portal to enable persons with disabilities to exercise their right to access the best possible knowledge to protect themselves. In Pakistan, for instance, UNESCO has developed province-specific school safety action plans covering the needs of people with disabilities, with new institutional arrangements to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction in the education sector.
Societies cannot be resilient if they are not inclusive. On this International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction, I call on all Governments and relevant actors to join forces to integrate the concerns of persons with disabilities into all efforts to reduce the risks of disasters.
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MESSAGE DE LA DIRECTRICE GENERALE DEL´UNESCO , Irina Bokova, à l’occasion de la Journée internationale de la prévention des catastrophes : Les personnes handicapées et les catastrophes, 13 octobre 2013
Nous savons que les catastrophes augmentent en fréquence, en complexité, en étendue et en capacité de destruction. Et même sans être capables d’empêcher les catastrophes, nous savons que nous pouvons faire davantage pour prévenir et atténuer leur impact.
Cela suppose une réflexion à long terme. Les systèmes d’alerte rapide et l’action humanitaire restent essentiels, mais nous devons également nous intéresser aux vulnérabilités et aux risques sous-jacents afin de renforcer la résilience. La réduction des risques de catastrophe devrait être intégrée aux plans de développement et aux stratégies d’intervention, et une plus grande attention devrait être portée à l’éducation et à la formation, qui peuvent sauver et prolonger des vies pendant les situations d’urgence et au-delà.
Tous nos efforts doivent englober les personnes handicapées. Bien qu’ils représentent approximativement 10 % de la population mondiale, soit 650 millions de personnes environ, ces femmes et ces hommes sont trop souvent négligés pendant le cycle de gestion des catastrophes, en particulier lors de la phase d’intervention, et trop rarement considérés comme des acteurs importants, alors même qu’ils sont généralement les plus exposés. Nous devons continuer à nous inspirer, pour aller de l’avant, de la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées, selon laquelle les personnes handicapées doivent pouvoir bénéficier des stratégies en matière de secours, d’intervention d’urgence et de réduction des risques de catastrophe, tout en y prenant part.
Les catastrophes peuvent être l’occasion de lutter contre les préjugés et la discrimination et de « reconstruire en mieux », en garantissant l’inclusion de l’ensemble des femmes et des hommes. Les adultes et les enfants qui vivent avec un handicap ont un rôle essentiel à jouer dans le renforcement de la résilience avant et après les catastrophes.
Cela suppose notamment un appui au patrimoine et aux expressions culturels. L’expérience de l’UNESCO, qui a soutenu le Carnaval de Jacmel en Haïti après le tremblement de terre, témoigne de la force que le patrimoine culturel immatériel peut transmettre aux communautés en les aidant à se reconstruire. La science, la technologie et l’ingénierie, qui mobilisent les connaissances nécessaires pour mieux protéger les personnes handicapées, ont également leur importance. Les médias sont essentiels pour faciliter l’échange d’informations entre les personnes handicapées et les acteurs humanitaires dans les situations de catastrophe. Au Kenya, l’UNESCO a organisé un Forum national des radios communautaires à l’occasion de la Journée internationale de la prévention des catastrophes, afin de permettre aux professionnels des médias communautaires et aux acteurs des communautés de partager leur savoir et leur expérience.
L’éducation doit être une priorité stratégique. C’est pourquoi l’UNESCO favorise les initiatives en faveur d’une réduction inclusive des risques de catastrophe dans les écoles du monde entier. Nous avons également mis en place un portail Web permettant aux personnes handicapées d’exercer leur droit d’accès aux meilleures connaissances en vue de se protéger. Ainsi, au Pakistan, l’UNESCO a élaboré des plans d’action de sécurité en milieu scolaire propres à chaque province, répondant aux besoins des personnes handicapées et comportant de nouvelles dispositions institutionnelles pour intégrer la réduction des risques de catastrophe dans le secteur éducatif.
Les sociétés non inclusives ne peuvent être résilientes. À l’occasion de cette Journée internationale de la prévention des catastrophes, j’invite tous les gouvernements et les acteurs concernés à unir leurs forces afin de prendre systématiquement en compte les préoccupations des personnes handicapées dans le cadre des efforts visant à réduire les risques de catastrophe.
Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) Director Appointed
Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC) Director Appointed!
We are pleased to welcome Ms Alison Brome as Director (a.i.) of the Caribbean Tsunami Information Center (CTIC). Ms Brome has vast experience in project and procurement management, natural hazard assessment, geography, urban planning and research. Ms Brome has also previously served as Technical Coordinator for the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning Systems Project, which involved close collaboration with the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the University of West Indies Seismic Research Centre (SRC).
International Day of Peace, September 21,2013
Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, 21 September 2013
International Day of Peace, which we celebrate on 21 September, is devoted this year to peace education.
This message embodies UNESCO’s founding values: since wars begin in the minds of women and men, it in the minds of women and men that the defences of peace must be constructed. Education is the foundation of any lasting peace. It is the driving force behind freedom and tolerance. It stems the tide of ignorance and mutual misunderstanding, the means by which disagreements all too often degenerate into violence. Education fosters the culture of dialogue that is necessary to resolve conflicts.
That is why UNESCO campaigns for quality education for all going further than the basics of reading and writing. Education must encompass the teaching of human rights, living together and respect for others. Peace education is one of its key components. Every child in the world should know their rights, and learn their own history and that of other peoples, so as to be able to understand the equal dignity of cultures and draw lessons from the crimes and violence of the past. This vision is the key to tolerant citizenship in a globalized world. It requires a widespread effort to train teachers and design suitable school curricula. These principles inspire all of UNESCO’s work, in particular through the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference and the United Nations General Assembly.
Education is a fundamental human right, and there can be no justification for depriving anybody of that right. As we mobilize the potential of education to prevent war, we must ensure the quality and continuity of teaching, even in the event of conflict. This is the purpose of UNESCO’s work to protect schools and teachers, and to bring education to refugees and displaced persons. It is also, for UNESCO, the way to lay the foundations of future peace.
With this hope in mind, I call upon all Member States of UNESCO, governments and civil society organizations to join their forces, and to join us to make education a force for peace. We must give to future generations a culture of dialogue and build, through education, a world that is not only more connected, but also more compassionate.
Ground-breaking online climate risk management tool launched in Caribbean
Ground-breaking online climate risk management tool launched in Caribbean
The Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL), a web-based tool designed to help decision makers in the Caribbean integrate climate resilience into their decision making and planning processes, was launched on Friday 12th July at an event at the Coco Palm Hotel in Saint Lucia, where the Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, is to give the feature address. CCORAL was developed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and Acclimatise, based on a thorough consultation process involving significant inputs from across the region. Critical inputs have been provided by Government Ministries in the four CCORAL pilot countries – Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and Suriname, non-governmental and civil society organisations, business and financial services sectors, universities and research institutions, and development partners. The new online support tool is an important step towards increasing the climate resilience of the region.
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said of CCORAL “The development of the... tool [is] an extremely important asset in assessing the risk from the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean region. I would like to compliment the CCCCC for having taken this initiative”.
CCORAL has been developed with support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) under the Caribbean Climate Risk Management Project.
CCORAL guides users through several steps, helping them to quickly identify whether their activity is likely to be influenced by climate change and is a priority for further investigation, understand climate influence at each stage of their activity, and take action to increase climate resilience.
See the tool here: http://ccoral.caribbeanclimate.bz/
Fully Funded Fellowship UNITED NATIONS Nippon Foundation
The United Nations – The Nippon Foundation of Japan Fellowship Programme is a fully funded research Fellowship for developing State ocean professionals. The main objective of the Fellowship is to provide advanced research and training in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, and related disciplines, to government officials and other professionals from developing States.
Successful candidates will undertake their research/studies in two back-to-back phases: the first, lasting three months, with the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), UN Office of Legal Affairs; and the second, lasting six months, with a participating academic host institution. Fellowship application deadline is 15 September, and candidates should forward their applications directly to DOALOS.
Additional information, including the application package, detailed application instructions, and a list of participating host institutions, is available on the Fellowship website: www.un.org/depts/los/nippon and www.unfalumni.org
World Oceans Day - 8 June 2013
Celebrated each year on 8 June since 2009, World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.
The lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans are also a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere. The concept of a 'World Oceans Day' was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea, as well as to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it.
The UN General Assembly recognized the important contribution of sustainable development and management of the resources and uses of the oceans and seas to the achievement of international development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, and designated 8 June as World Oceans Day by its resolution 63/111 of 5 December 2008 (pdf).
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) sponsors the World Ocean Network, which has since 2002 been instrumental in building support for ocean awareness events on 8 June.
“The challenge today is to use marine science to understand and protect oceans, in order to better manage their ecosystems and biodiversity for present and future generations”.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General on the occasion of World Ocean Day 2011
Film on Ocean Acidification and Arctic Ecosystems
A film on ocean acidification and Arctic ecosystems was released this week by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program – it’s a good summary of the issues – worth watching if you have a spare 12 minutes (full version):