10.08.2018 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Three Historic Cities Gather in Semarang to Share Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy in Each Site

©UNESCO Jakarta

Semarang, 26 July 2018. From 24 to 25 July 2018, UNESCO Office Jakarta, UNESCO Office for the Pacific States and Semarang Old Town Management Board (BPK2L) joined hands in holding the regional workshop entitled “Experience Sharing on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Strategy in Three Heritage Cities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific”, at the Oudetrap Building in Semarang Old Town, Central Java, Indonesia.

This present workshop was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Malaysian Government through the Malaysian Funds-in-Trust scheme and was the fourth activity in the larger project framework aimed to build the capacity of three pilot heritage cities in DRR. In this event, the three pilot sites met to share the progress in preparing a DRR Strategy in each city as well as to identify common challenges encountered during the process. They were also given a session where they think collectively on possible solutions to the challenges encountered.  

The common challenges encountered by the three cities in developing a sound disaster mitigation strategy include the difficulty in establishing links with various urban planning and development sectors (e.g. land use, transportation, infrastructure, waste management, water management). It remains difficult to bring people from non-heritage sectors to come on board and help to safeguard heritage assets from damage caused by disasters as they think it is not part of their mandate. They also found incompatible additions, alterations and retrofitting of a historic building to accommodate safety features are happening in the absence of guidelines for building owners/tenants. Abandonment of some of the buildings coupled with unclear building ownerships was also identified as aggravating  the situation since vacant building tend to be more prone to damage when disaster strikes.      

In order to expand the benefit of the present project, other heritage cities in addition to the three pilot sites were also invited to this workshop, namely those who are highly prone to disasters and/or have been recently affected by one, as well as cities that have good practices and lessons on disaster preparedness. Sangiran Early Man Site, Vigan Historic Town, Ayutthaya, Kota Tua Jakarta and Kotagede Jogjakarta were among those who attended the workshop. The attendance of several other heritage cities is also expected to provide good networking opportunity for heritage cities’ managers as well as DRR agencies, to build a wider network of heritage cities in Asia and the Pacific.

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