Disaster Risk Reduction

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Flaming gas crater known as the Door to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

Natural hazards are naturally-occurring physical phenomena caused by either the rapid or slow onset of events having atmospheric, geologic and hydrologic origins on solar, global, regional, national or local scales.

Disasters often follow natural hazards and they are a result of the combination of hazards, the conditions of vulnerability and of the insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potentially negative consequences of the hazard.

Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.

UNESCO is engaged in the conceptual shift in thinking away from post-disaster reaction and towards pre-disaster action. Working alone or in collaboration with other UN Agencies and/or other scientific entities, UNESCO has been a catalyst for international, inter-disciplinary cooperation in many aspects of disaster risk reduction and mitigation.  By operating at the interface between natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication, UNESCO plays a vital role in constructing a global culture of resilient communities in a trans- and cross-disciplinary manner.

UNESCO assists countries to build their capacities in managing disaster and climate risk. It supports their efforts in  preventing, mitigating the effect of and coping with disasters. This is achieved by using education and raising awareness in a culturally sensitive manner and focusing efforts on UNESCO designated and affiliated sites (such as World Heritage Sites, educational facilities, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks). UNESCO assists Member States to further strengthens their scientific and technological capacity in identifying, monitoring and dealing with hazards as well as preparing for them via Early Warning Systems. The work of the Organization is being developed and implemented through its different Sectors, Field Offices, Designated and Affiliated Sites, Category I and II Centers, UNESCO Chairs and Networks, according to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and its four Priorities of Action.

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