Box 2.22: Coordinating responses to natural disasters
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) builds on the achievements of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and facilitates disaster reduction efforts worldwide. ISDR combines the strengths of key actors through two groups: the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction, which is the principal body for the development of disaster reduction policy and consists of 25 UN, international, regional and civil society organizations; and the Inter- Agency Secretariat of the ISDR, which serves as the UN system’s focal point for promoting coordination of disaster reduction activities in the socio-economic, humanitarian and development fields, as well as for supporting policy integration.
The January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, set out an action plan for 2005 to 2015 and adopted a common statement on the Indian Ocean disaster. The Declaration adopted in Kobe expressed the international community’s determination to reduce disaster losses and reaffirmed the vital role of the UN system in disaster risk reduction.
Coordinating responses to the Tsunami disasters
In the aftermath of the devastation caused by the recent tsunami, the General Assembly in resolution 59/279 “welcomed the effective cooperation between the affected States, relevant bodies in the United Nations system, donor countries, regional and international financial institutions and civil society in the coordination and delivery of emergency relief.” The Assembly also stressed the need to continue such cooperation and delivery throughout the ongoing relief operations and rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, in a manner that reduces vulnerability to future natural hazards.” In response to the tsunami, UN, UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNEP, World Bank, UNHCR, WHO, FAO, UNESCO, UN-Habitat and ITU mobilized rapidly to mount a coordinated response, providing immediate humanitarian relief—food aid, water purification and emergency health kits, sanitation, temporary shelters, supplies for emergency obstetric care and safe blood transfusions, and vaccinations—and coordinating efforts for long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas.