DRR and UNDRR's history
As an increasing number of people are being affected by natural hazards, there is growing recognition by governments and organizations that building resilient communities and reducing disaster risk is a core initiative.
The last 60 years: Achievements in DRR by the UN General Assembly
The below timeline highlights major disasters and achievements in disaster risk reduction.
During the 1960s, the UN/GA adopted measures regarding severe disasters
|1962||Res. 1753||The Buyin-Zara earthquake struck Iran and killed more that 12,000 people|
|1963||Res. 1882||The earthquake at Skoplje, Yugoslavia, caused the death of more than 1,200 persons Res. 1888 An hurricane struck the territories of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and causing considerable material damage|
|1965||Res. 2034||The GA requests Member States, in its resolution 2034 Assistance in cases of natural disasters to inform the Secretary-General of the type of emergency assistance they are in a position to offer|
|1968||Res. 2378||A severe earthquake struck again Iran killing some 10,000 people. The GA requests the Secretary-General and heads of specialized agencies, in the light of funds available, to bear in mind the needs of the Government of Iran in connexion with its plans for the reconstruction of the devastated areas when deciding on the services to be provided to Member States|
1970-1986: Assistance in cases of natural disaster
|1970||Res. 2717||Assistance in cases of natural disaster, invites the Secretary-General to submit recommendations in particular on ... (b) Pre-disaster planning at the national and international levels, including the definition of machinery and contingency arrangements capable of coping immediately with disaster situations; ... (d) The application of technology to, and scientific research for, the prevention and control of natural disasters, or a mitigation of the effects of such disasters, including arrangements to disseminate effectively to all countries the fruits of research from satellites and other sophisticated technology with a view to strengthening international co-operation to determine the causes and early manifestation of impending disasters and the development and improvement of early warning systems.|
|1971||Res. 2816||Creation of the United Nations Disaster Relief Office (UNDRO) "The GA calls upon the Secretary-General to appoint a Disaster Relief Co-ordinator, who will be authorized, on his behalf: ... (f) To promote the study, prevention, control and prediction of natural disasters, ... (g) To assist in providing advice to Governments on pre-disaster planning,.It endorses the Secretary-General's proposals for an adequate permanent office in the United Nations which shall be the focal point in the United Nations system for disaster relief matters; ... It Invites Governments ... (f) to improve national disaster warning systems".|
|The GA adopted separately a number of resolutions on drought in Afghanistan (Res. 2757, Oct.1971); in drought-stricken areas of Ethiopia and other countries in Africa (Res.33/21, Nov.1978, 40/228, 1985, 40/175, 1985)|
|1972||Res. 2959||The GA reaffirms "the vital importance, in order to lessen the impact of disasters, of assistance to disaster-prone countries in preventive measures, disaster contingency planning and preparedness".|
|1974||Res. 3337||The GA decides to convene the United Nations Conference on Desertification|
|Res. 3345||Strengthening of the United Nations Disaster Relief Office|
"Convinced that disaster prevention and pre-disaster planning form an integral part of the international development policy of governments and international organizations... the GA requests the Secretary-General to continue to investigate the feasibility of measures to strengthen the UN machinery with regard to disaster prevention and pre-disaster planning".
|1978||Res. 33/22|| Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator|
The GA requests the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme at its next session to give consideration to the inclusion of technical co-operation activities for disaster preparedness and prevention in its regional and interregional programmes.
|1979||Res. 34/55|| Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator|
The GA "Welcomes the decision taken by the Governing Council of the UNDP... to give consideration to the inclusion of technical co-operation activities for disaster preparedness and prevention in national and regional programmes; ... "Requests the Preparatory Committee for the New International Development Strategy to take into account, matters concerning disaster relief, preparedness and prevention;"
|1981||Res. 36/225|| Strengthening the capacity of the United Nations system to respond to natural disasters and other disaster situations|
The GA ... "Stresses the need to take full advantage of information provided by existing early-warning monitoring systems that have been developed to strengthen the capacity of the UN systems in responding to natural disasters... and to coordinate... all relevant early-warning systems."
1990-1999: The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
|1987||Res. 42/169|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
... "The GA recognizes the importance of reducing the impact of natural disasters for all people, and in particular for developing countries;. It decides to designate the 1990s as a decade in which the international community, under the auspices of the United Nations, will pay special attention to fostering international co-operation in the field of natural disaster reduction, ..."
|1988||Res. 43/202|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
Recalling that in 1988 many disasters, such as floods in the Sudan and Bangladesh, typhoons in the Philippines, hurricanes in Latin America and the Caribbean, locust infestations in Africa, the GA recognizes the need for reducing the impact of natural disasters and welcomes the progress report of the Secretary-General on the preparation for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and requests to develop a framework of action
|1989||Res. 44/236|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
The GA ... "proclaims the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, beginning on 1 January 1990; Decides to designate the second Wednesday of October International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction, to be observed annually during the Decade by the international community; adopts the International Framework of Action for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction;"
|1990||Res. 45/185|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
The GA urges the international community to implement fully the International Framework of Action of the IDNDR (annex of res. 44/236), to establish national committees and reaffirms the need for the secretariat of the Decade to work in close co-operation with UNDRO
|1991||Res. 46/149|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
The GA endorses the New York declaration and the recommendations contained in the first annual report of the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) on the Decade as well as the proposal of the STC to convene in 1994 a world conference of representatives of national committees for the Decade
|1993||Res. 48/188|| International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction|
The GA decides to convene in 1994 the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction
|1994||Res. 49/22 A|| World Conference on Disaster Reduction, Yokohama, Japan|
The World Conference was held at Yokohama, Japan from 23 to 27 May 1994. Res. 49/22 A endorses the Yokohama Strategy and its Plan of Action adopted at the World Conference
First steps for early warning systems
|1995||Res. 50/117 A||The GA decides to convene a closing event of the Decade in order to facilitate the full integration of disaster reduction into the substantive efforts for sustainable development and environmental protection by the year 2000|
|1996||Res. 51/185||The GA calls upon the secretariat of the Decade to continue to facilitate a concerted international approach to improvements in early warning capacities for natural disasters and similar disasters with adverse impact on the environment within the process leading towards the closing event of the Decade|
|The El Niño phenomenon|
Taking into account that the El Niño Southern Oscillation Phenomenon, commonly known as "El Niño", has had an acute impact in several regions of the world, with particular severity and frequency in the coastal countries of the Pacific Ocean, the GA in its resolutions 52/200, 53/185, 54/220, 55/197, invites the States involved in the Decade to participate in its activities including those related to international cooperation to reduce the impact of the El Niño phenomenon. It also calls upon the organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, especially the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, WMO, WHO, FAO, UNEP and UNDP and the World Climate Research Programme, as well as the International Council of Scientific Unions, within the Decade, to contribute further to a comprehensive approach and study of El Niño and to intensify their cooperation with the regions affected by the phenomenon, especially with developing countries, small island developing States and landlocked countries. The GA requests also to facilitate the process for the prompt establishment of the International centre for the study of the El Niño and requests the Secretary-General to continue the full implementation of these resolutions for the period 1997-2000
|1999||The IDNDR Programme Forum 1999|
As the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) concludes, the international community is increasingly aware that natural disasters are a major threat to social and economic stability and that disaster prevention is the main long-term solution to this threat. The biggest challenge of the Decade lies, therefore, in the creation of a global culture of prevention. It is in this context that the IDNDR Secretariat in the United Nations has organized the IDNDR Programme Forum 1999 within the closing event of the Decade. Thematic and regional events with respect to natural disaster prevention have been held as part of the 1998 - 1999 Action plan for the concluding phase of the IDNDR, culminating in the IDNDR Programme Forum 1999 provided a platform for global multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary dialogue between all concerned partners within IDNDR. Results of the Programme Forum will constitute a major input to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) deliberations on IDNDR. The IDNDR Programme Forum 1999 offered more than 40 thematic sessions in support of natural disaster prevention, including 3 tracks of concurrent sessions as well as a Sub-Forum on Science and Technology organized by WMO and UNESCO. In addition, panels, poster sessions, exhibits and an open public forum were organized, thus providing a comprehensive overview on the broad spectrum of IDNDR achievements at all levels.
|Establishment of UNISDR|
2000-2007: Disasters, Vulnerability, and the ISDR
|2000||Res. 54/219|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
Taking note of Economic and Social Council resolution 1999/63 of 30 July 1999 on the successor arrangements for the International Decade for Natural Disaster reduction, the GA endorses the proposal of the Secretary-General to establish an inter-agency task force and inter-agency-secretariat for disaster reduction, under the direct authority of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; decides to maintain the observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction on the second Wednesday of October.
|2001||Res. 56/195|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
The GA requests the relevant organizations of the United Nations system to support the implementation of the goals of the Strategy, and endorses the proposal of the Secretary-General to review the implementation of the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World
|2002||Res. 57/256|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
The GA requests the Secretary-General, with the assistance of the inter-agency secretariat for the Strategy, to plan and coordinate, in consultation with Governments and relevant organizations of the United Nations system, including international financial institutions, the 2004 review of the Yokohama Strategy
|The Johannesburg Plan of Action|
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August-September 2002 provided the ISDR with a concrete set of objectives within the sustainable development agenda to which both the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction and the UN/ISDR secretariat, along with partners, will increasingly turn their attention and capacities to integrating and mainstreaming risk reduction into development policies and processes
|A/57/190||In his report on the ISDR (A/57/190) the UN Secretary-General specifies that: "This review process will help identify gaps and means of implementation in a way that will chart the course of action for the forthcoming decade, while taking into account the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development"|
|2003||Res. 58/214|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
The GA decides to convene a World Conference on Disaster Reduction in 2005, to conclude the review of the Yokohama Strategy and its Plan of Action; to identify specific activities aimed at ensuring the implementation of relevant provisions of the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on sustainable development on vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management; to share best practices and lessons learned to further disaster reduction within the context of attaining sustainable development and identify gaps and challenges; to increase awareness of the importance of disaster reduction policies; and to increase the reliability and availability of appropriate disaster-related information to the public and disaster management agencies in all regions, as set out in the relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The ten-year review takes into account several relevant processes, such as the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and will culminate in the Second World Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in Kobe, Japan, in January 2005.
|Res. 58/215||Recalling its decision 57/547 (Dec. 2002) the GA urges the international community to continue to address ways and means, including through cooperation and technical assistance, to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters, including those caused by extreme weather events, in particular in vulnerable developing countries, through the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
|2004||Res. 59/231|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
The GA welcomes the work of the ongoing preparatory process for the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, to be held in Kobe, Japan, from 18 to 22 January 2005 and notes with appreciation the pledge made by the Government of Japan to cover costs of the World Conference.
|Res. 59/232||The GA underscores the importance of maintaining the El Niño/Southern Oscillation observation system, continuing research into extreme weather events, improving forecasting skills and developing appropriate policies for reducing the impact of the El Niño phenomenon and other extreme weather events and emphasizes the need to further develop and strengthen these institutional capacities in all countries, in particular in developing countries.|
|2005||Res. 60/195|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
It endorses the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: building the resilience of Nations and communities to disasters adopted by the World Conference on Disaster Reduction, held at Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, from 18 to 22 January 2005, and recalls the common statement of the special session on the Indian Ocean disasters: risk reduction for a safer future.
|Res. 60/196||The GA urges the international community to continue to address ways and means, including through cooperation and technical assistance, to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters, including those caused by extreme weather events, in particular in vulnerable developing countries, including least developed countries and in Africa, through the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, including the Hyogo Framework for Action, and encourages the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction to continue its work in this regard|
|2006||Res. 61/198|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
The Global Platform on Disaster Reduction
The GA notes the proposed establishment of a Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction as the successor mechanism of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction, and, taking into account the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, decides that the Global Platform shall have the same mandate as the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction, and requests the Secretary-General to include information on the Global Platform, for consideration by the General Assembly, in his next report; Decides that the proposed establishment of the Global Platform should continue to be carried out in an inclusive and transparent manner and be open to all Member States.
|Res. 61/199.||The GA recognizes the ongoing efforts made by the Government of Ecuador, the World Meteorological Organization and the inter-agency secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction which have led to the establishment of the International Centre for the Study of the El Niño Phenomenon at Guayaquil, Ecuador, and encourages them to continue their support for the advancement of the Centre|
|Res. 61/200||The GA urges the international community to continue to address ways and means, including through cooperation and technical assistance, to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters, including those caused by extreme weather events, in particular in vulnerable developing countries, including least developed countries and in Africa, through the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, including the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, and encourages the institutional arrangement for the International Strategy to continue its work in this regard.|
|2007||Res. 62/192|| International Strategy for Disaster Reduction|
First session of the Global Platform on Disaster Reduction
The GA takes note with great interest and appreciation of the holding at Geneva, from 5 to 7 June 2007, of the first session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the successor mechanism of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction, as a useful forum for Member States and other stakeholders to assess progress made in the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, enhance awareness of disaster risk reduction, share experiences and learn from good practice, identify remaining gaps and identify actions to accelerate national and local implementation.
|2009||First Global Assessment Report|
|2011||Istanbul Programme of Action|
|2012||Rio+20 The Future We Want|
|2015||Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction|
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
|2016||New Urban Agenda|
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UNDRR yearly archives and annual report
UNDRR has been advocating for and promoting disaster risk reduction for over 20 years. An archive of all our key activities since 2000 are listed in the below links.
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (originally UNISDR) was established in 1999 to facilitate the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). UNISDR was mandated “to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system for the coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among the disaster reduction activities of the United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields” (UN General Assembly Resolution 56/195).
UNISDR rebranded on 1 May 2019, aligning its acronym with its name and purpose: UNDRR. The rebrand was applied across all communication and external facing outputs, and a range of internal quality tools were released to staff to encourage brand consistency.