Planning for Urban and Sustainable Cities in Korea: Learning from International Cities (2019 K-Safety Expo)

Korea, Rep of
Ministry of the Interior and Safety
Incheon Metropolitan City
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Office in Incheon for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction


Background and Introduction

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically. Yet now that half of the world’s population live in cities, making sustainable and resilient cities - amidst a changing climate, rapidly depleting resources, and unplanned urbanization - is one of our greatest challenges and opportunities.

The engagement of cities and local authorities has been at the forefront of discussion in many of the global forums including the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in March 2015 when 187 UN member states adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 – the global blueprint for disaster risk reduction (DRR), and the Florence High-Level Forum on Implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the Local Level in June 2016.  Cities are key to tackling local risks and it is highly encouraged for cities to build resilience through sustainable and inclusive development – development that addresses the root causes of existing risks and prevents the creation of new ones. 

There is a unique opportunity at the Korea International Safety & Security Expo (KINTEX) 2019 to highlight this critical role of cities and showcase the UNDRR’s facilitated global campaign on Making Cities Resilient.  It is hoped that the forum will foster the interest and active engagement of Korean cities and pave ways towards partnership and collaboration in making Korean cities resilient in the coming years.

The forum will

  • provide an overview about the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and its linkage to Sustainable Development Goals: from the global framework to local implementation
  • Introduce the Making Cities Resilient Global Campaign and share useful tools for cities in self-assessing their resilience including the New Ten Essentials, Quick Risk Estimation tool and Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities
  • Make analysis on the progress of Korean Cities that have conducted the Scorecard Assessments
  • Showcase good practice and lessons learnt from international cities
  • Exchange experience and build connections towards city-to-city collaboration in resilience building

Development is building risk

During the ten-year timeframe 2005-2015 disasters exacted a heavy global toll: the well-being and safety of persons, communities and countries as a whole have been affected. Over 700 thousand people lost their lives, over 1.4 million were injured and approximately 23 million were made homeless as a result of disasters. Overall, more than 1.5 billion people were affected by disasters in various ways, with women, children and people in vulnerable situations disproportionately affected. The total economic loss was more than $1.3 trillion.

A framework for reducing risk, and preventing the creation of new risk

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is the global blueprint for managing disaster risk adopted by UN Member States in March 2015, in Sendai, Japan, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. It sets clear targets for a substantial reduction in global disaster losses from man-made and natural hazards through to 2030, and links with other global accords such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The framework provides practical guidance on actions and roles at national and local levels.

Making Cities Resilient: ‘My city is getting ready!’ global campaign for urban risk reduction

The global campaign has engaged over 4,271 cities to know more, invest wisely and build more safely. Cities that sign up share experience and know-how, and work to implement the New Ten Essentials for Disaster Resilient Cities. The campaign provides useful tools for cities to self-assess their resilience and plan forward for disaster risk reduction in alignment with the target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. 174 Korean cities and townships are currently participating.

Expected Outcomes:

  • City officials learn about the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in connection with sustainable development
  • City officials are equipped with various tools in making cities resilient and implementing Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at the local level
  • Connections and partnerships fostered for Making Cities Resilient Campaign
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