Disaster Risk Reduction new dimensions: COVID-19 Preparedness at local level

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Abstract

In the past years, COVID-19 has grown into one of the greatest humanitarian issues in recorded history. Its impact is immense, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who have died. Its effects have been exacerbated by climate change, as we are facing far more climate risk and losses due to increasing severity and frequency of climate shocks and stresses, as well as deepening vulnerability and inequality. Currently, half of humanity is living in a climate impact danger zone as global emissions are not being reduced to safe levels (IPCC Working Group II Report, 2022). The climate emergency, COVID-19 pandemic, illustrate how disaster cascades across geographies and sectors today, and are exacerbated by armed conflict and inequalities.
Over the past years, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has supported national and local governments in developing holistic and integrated disaster risk reduction strategies, and more recently, how to incorporate pandemics into resilience planning. Taking this approach is crucial at a national level, but also particularly at the local level, as cities and provinces are at the front line of disaster prevention, preparedness and relief. The impacts of climate extreme events across our region in the past months, combined with the dramatic health and socio-economic consequences of the pandemic crises, remind us that managing disaster risk is a complex issue and is everyone’s business.
Making Cities Resilient 2030 was launched in October 2020 as an alliance to assist local governments in preparing for this challenge. Through advocacy, sharing knowledge and experiences, establishing city-to-city learning networks, injecting technical expertise, connecting multiple layers of government, and building partnerships, MCR2030 seeks to improve local and regional resilience.
The initiative builds on the experience of many institutions working with cities on resilience issues, including WHO, UN-Habitat and different international organisations such as ICLEI, Resilient Cities Network and the World Bank, which have come together to offer their services to support cities in building resilience. By joining MCR2030, cities can benefit from a vast range of resources available from global partners, including tools for resilience assessment, training on resilience strategy development, and assistance with project preparation.
In Europe and Central Asia, the initiative is implemented by the Regional Coordinating Committee, a steering group committed to joining forces in offering support to cities. The committee works on different priorities, gathering resources and best practices that can assist and inspire member cities.
As part of a semester-long project focused on Covid-19 Recovery, this policy brief provides clear recommendations on how to become more resilient in a world that is constantly changing. The University of Huddersfield is the leading partner of UNDRR in this effort, which also includes contributions from several RCC partners, such as UNDP, WHO, Amadora, Greater Manchester, Milan and the Province of Potenza and is the result of numerous activities, events, and city consultations.
It is our hope that this guide can serve as an inspiration for all MCR2030 cities seeking to integrate pandemics into their resilience planning, and that they can continue sharing their best practices. UNDRR and MCR2030 partners will continue to collaborate to share resources at MCR2030, creating a space for learning and exchanging.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2023

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