View of a ruined village a in the province of Dhamar, in December 1982

View of a ruined village a in the province of Dhamar, in December 1982

Landslides, like floods, are common in every country. They are triggered by meteorological or seismological events, causing the mass movement of the rock and soil on unstable slopes. In addition to causing injuries and deaths, they can disrupt communications and rupture oil, gas, water and sewage pipelines.

Various studies have been conducted by UNESCO on the causes and prevention of landslides, in particular the publication of guidelines on landslides hazards zonation. Projects in this area resulted in significant multi-national landslide research and mitigation.  

UNESCO has a special responsibility in this area - along with the International Consortium on Landslides (ICL), established with help of UNESCO. The Kyoto-based ICL is an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organization promoting landslide research and capacity building, and integrating landslide sciences and technology within the appropriate cultural and social contexts. It also coordinates international expertise in landslide risk assessment and mitigation studies and promotes a global, multidisciplinary programme on landslides.

One of UNESCO’s long term objectives is to help Member States develop landslide monitoring networks.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNESCO and ICL in August 2006 to further cooperation between UNESCO and ICL on the promotion of worldwide research and capacity building in landslide risk mitigation and towards the implementation of the 2006 Tokyo Action Plan on Landslides. The latter is an important roadmap, which strengthens international collaboration by formulating a framework for cooperation and identifying focus areas to reduce landslide risk worldwide.

UNESCO helped to organize the First World Landslide Forum in Tokyo in 2008, aimed at strengthening landslide risk preparedness worldwide. The second World Landslide Forum is planned to be held in Rome in September 2011.

UNESCO hosts the annual meetings of the Session of Board of Representatives of ICL which, inter alia, reviews the progress report of ICL and proposes the agenda for the following year. The next meeting of the Board will take place on 16-19 November 2010 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

For more information contact: Mr Badaoui Rouhban or Ms Kristine Tovmasyan, Section for Disaster Reduction

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