Capacity Building for Geohazard Risk Reduction

© UNESCO/Plan Vietnam
Vietnamese children make their own video to record their communities' experiences and learn about disaster risk reduction and climate change.

UNESCO is committed to helping Member States strengthen their capacity to cope with natural hazards. In this framework, UNESCO facilitates and/or conducts technical training workshops for experts and research activities in disaster risk reduction, notably on assessment and monitoring of geohazards. The Organization provides publications and hardware while raising public understanding and awareness. Such capacity building efforts contribute to enhancing current knowledge on geo-hazards. Proceedings and resource materials are also produced through these activities to help decision-makers and stakeholders build their capacity in managing disaster risks, and networks of technical experts are developed.

UNESCO projects

  • Enhancing Natural HAzards resilience iN South America (ENHANS): ENHANS is a project that seeks to train a critical mass of experts to utilize and further develop the tools and implement methods and tools to tackle rapidly varying vulnerability and disaster risks and to raise awareness among communities and reduce their risk from natural hazards while promoting Regional Cooperation. The project is financed by the Government of Flanders, Kingdom of Belgium.
  • Libyan National Seismological Network (LNSN): UNESCO is supporting Libyan scientists to establish the national seismological network by the provision of the necessary hardware and software for data collection, analysis and dissemination and by strengthening the capacities of national scientists.
  • School Safety and VISUS methodology: UNESCO has developed a simple to use, science based decision making methodology named VISUS to ensure the structural safety of educational facilities. One hundred schools were assessed in El Salvador and two pilots are currently being implemented in Laos and Indonesia. The initiative includes training of trainers and involves young engineers.
  • Towards a safe built environment
    A safe built environment plays a key role in reducing the risks of disasters caused by natural hazards. Amongst natural hazards, earthquakes are characterized by the highest mortality, mainly due to building collapse. In addition to the human casualties, massive economic losses are also caused by construction failure. The INternational Disaster Resilient Architecture project (INDRA) promotes disaster resilient architecture by bringing together contemporary construction and vernacular architecture techniques, building capacity locally and adapting guidelines to local contexts. UNESCO has also developed guidelines for practitioners with little or no engineering background and for policy makers to improve the safety of non-engineered buildings.
  • Community-based disaster risk reduction in Uttarakhand, India: A research project jointly supported by UNESCO Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction Section, UNESCO field office in New Delhi and UNESCO Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) investigated community-based practices for enhancing social resilience in the northern Indian State of Uttarakhand, in the aftermath of the June 2013 floods and landslides which left the State devastated. Selected municipalities in the Mandakini river valley were chosen as a case study. Participatory disaster risk assessments and planning were conducted using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools to understand social vulnerability and community participation in disaster risk reduction.
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