UCCRN/UNISDR: From Sendai to Rio: Cultivating a Disaster-Resilient Society for Sustainable Development

by | April 12, 2012
Category: News

Distant_view_of_Rikuzentakata_Credit_Mitsukuni_Sato-1024x6851On April 11, 2012, the UCCRN co-hosted along with the United National International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, a dialogue at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library entitled “From Sendai to Rio: Cultivating a Disaster Resilient Society for Sustainable Development,” in the lead-up to June’s Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The event featured experts from UN agencies, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), Columbia University, Japan, Bangladesh and New York City who shared their knowledge and experience in climate and disaster risk resilience, and discussed how these could influence the public and policy understanding on sustainable development, especially in the urban context. The dialogue also served as a platform to identify research questions and learning among cities from different regions in implementing disaster risk reduction initiatives at the local level. Specifically, the objectives of the dialogue were threefold:

1) To explore how the lessons learned from the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami (and climate extremes in Bangladesh and New York City) can help cities and local governments prevent and respond to climate extremes and other disasters in the future,

2) To discuss the benefits of making cities resilient and recommend issues for future research and applications, and

3) To explore opportunities for investments in disaster risk reduction and the opportunities for accelerating sustainable development and urbanization, and feed the results in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development preparations.

Cynthia Rosenzweig, senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and head of the UCCRN, moderated two discussions throughout the event, which included speakers from UN agencies, the Government of Bangladesh, the City of New York, Tohoku University, and the Earth Institute.


Event Presentations:
Professor Fumihiko Imamura, Tsunami Engineering, Tohoku University:
Damage Due to the 2011 Earthquake & Tsunami and its Lessons for Building a Resilient Society
Professor John Mutter, Director, Columbia University PhD Program in Sustainable Development:
The Long Run Effects of Natural Disasters: Thinking After the Scientists Have Left

Media Stories:
Earth Institute State of the Planet: From Sendai to Rio: A Call to Action
ClimateWire: Experts stress the need for more global disaster planning
UNISDR: Risk reduction moves centre stage for Rio+20

Informational Material:
UCCRN-UNISDR Event Concept Note
Columbia University Earth Institute Event Website

Photo Credit: Mitsukuni Sato (Creative Commons)

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