UNISDR and China launch new urban resilience award

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Asia and Pacific

GENEVA, 26 July 2012 - The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the World Cities Scientific Development Alliance (WCSDA) today announced the launch of the Resilient Cities Award to recognize excellence in land use planning and design and other activities that help protect communities from the impacts of natural hazards.

The award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Beijing, China on 12-14 December during the Second Mayors' Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction, comes at a time when cities across the world are facing more extreme weather events and feeling the pressure of rapid urbanization and population growth.

"The Resilient Cities Award aims to raise awareness of the importance of good planning in the face of urbanization and climate change, and advance the exchange of ideas, innovation, and investment in disaster risk reduction," said Helena Molin Valdes, Chief of the United Nations' Making Cities Resilient Campaign.

Dr. Dong Yanzhang, Executive Chairman of the WCSDA, added: "Beijing is an apt stage for this award given the huge urban expansion happening throughout China."

China is now home to the world's largest mega-cities, with more than 20 million people already inhabiting the nation's capital city of Beijing. Most of the emerging mega-cities are expanding into once rural and pastoral areas, creating further stress to eco-systems and raising concerns about future access to core resources such as clean water, food and housing.

About the Award
The Resilient Cities Award recognizes excellence in the adoption and implementation of the Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient, a 10-point checklist designed to help local governments assess their risks and initiate plans to improve their cities' resilience.

Applicants will be considered based on successful urban resilience efforts demonstrated through effective land-use planning, design, development, and infrastructure activities and investments that serve to reduce disaster risk.

Further consideration will also be given to efforts to raise awareness of disaster risk through successful organization and coordination between multiple stakeholders and the mobilization of funding and other resources, as well as the implementation of educational programs and training, and efforts to protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other natural hazards.

The Award Winner will receive complimentary travel and accommodation to Beijing, VIP access to the Summit and tour of the capital, a Resilient Cities 2012 Plaque, and global recognition as an international exemplar in urban resilience. The winner will also be invited to serve as a global ambassador on disaster risk reduction, engaging with multiple audiences and other city leaders at future forums and events.

Entries for the award are now being accepted and should be submitted to UNISDR-WCSDA@un.org. The entry deadline is 30 October 2012.

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