Preparing for Disaster and Post-crisis Responses

Tsunami, Japan, 2011 © Mainichi Shinbun

The frequency of natural disasters has increased fivefold since the 1970s. This increase can partly be attributed to climate change, unsustainable development and extremes of weather. Ever larger populations are at risk, mostly in developed countries. Scarcity of natural resources, and difficult living situations, brought upon by these disasters can lead to conflict.  

Conflicts undermine the prospects for boosting sustainable economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs). Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peace. As such, priority must be given to promoting a culture of peace and non-violence and advocating for mutual understanding. This involves education; scientific cooperation; emphasis on the role of cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and heritage in all its forms; and a focus on the role of media. This will involve activities to address disrupted or dysfunctional educational, cultural or media services in post-conflict and post-disaster situations. When supporting post-conflict recovery and reconstruction processes, special attention must be given to the root causes of conflict and to encouraging national dialogue and reconciliation efforts, so as to mitigate the risk of a relapse back into conflict. More support is also needed for disaster prevention and increased disaster preparedness, including for early warning systems and forecasting, dissemination of mitigation measures and proper information, education and public awareness.

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