The United Nations initiative to bolster cities’ resilience against natural hazards was unveiled in Kuwait today, with a senior world body official voicing hope that Arab cities will sign on to the scheme.
More than 100 cities around the world – such as Mexico City; Durban, South Africa; Bogotá, Colombia; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Colombo, Sri Lanka – have already joined the Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready campaign, coordinated by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
“No region of the world is immune from disaster,” said Margareta Wahlström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, in Kuwait.
The two-year programme calls for leaders and local governments to commit to a 10-point checklist to make their cities more resilient, including reinforcing drainage systems to reduce the likelihood of floods, installing early warning systems and carrying out public preparedness drills.
Several cities in the Arab region – including Hadramount, Yemen; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Agadir, Morocco – have experienced floods in recent years, with many more set to be exposed to disasters in the future due to increasingly unsafe urban settlements and climate change.
“I hope that when these Arab cities join, they will inspire many more to do the same,” Ms. Wahlström said.
The city of Nis in Serbia became the 100th city to sign on to the campaign last week, joining 17 other cities in the Balkan nation.