Annually, on the 13th of October, the world comes together to observe the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, directing global attention towards the pressing issues of disasters and inequality. This day serves as a crucial platform for creating awareness, imparting knowledge to communities, and advocating for resilience in the face of natural and human-induced calamities.
The theme for the UN International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2023 is “Fighting inequality for a resilient future.” The observance of this day holds profound significance, driven by several objectives:
- Highlighting Disaster Diversity: This day illuminates a spectrum of disasters, encompassing both natural and human-made, while underlining the significance of preventative measures to mitigate their impact.
- Education for Preparedness: Its primary goal is to educate individuals about disaster risks and encourage proactive steps for risk reduction, recognizing that knowledge is the cornerstone of preparedness.
- Call to Action: The day calls upon governments, stakeholders, policymakers, and organizations to take robust measures aimed at nurturing resilient communities. This encompasses the construction of disaster-resistant infrastructure, the enactment of policies to assist those affected by disasters, and the provision of disaster management training.
The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was inaugurated in 1989, following a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day dedicated to fostering a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held annually on October 13th, the day celebrates the efforts of individuals and communities worldwide in reducing their vulnerability to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of mitigating the risks they confront.
At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in 2015, the international community was reminded that disasters have the most devastating impact at the local level, with the potential to cause loss of life and severe social and economic upheaval. Sudden-onset disasters displace millions of people each year. Many of these disasters are exacerbated by climate change, resulting in adverse effects on sustainable development investments and desired outcomes.
It is also at the local level that capacities need urgent strengthening. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction places a strong emphasis on people-centric and action-oriented approaches to disaster risk reduction. It applies to the risks posed by small and large-scale disasters caused by both human-made and natural hazards, as well as related environmental, technological, and biological risks.