A compendium of disaster risk reduction practices in cities of the Western Balkans and Turkey: a review of selected cities participating in UNISDR’s ‘Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!’ campaign
This report is the result of a compendium undertaken as part of the ‘Building Resilience to Disasters in Western Balkans and Turkey’ project, initiated by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the European Commission (DG Enlargement) under the instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), with an objective to build the resilience of IPA beneficiaries in South Eastern Europe (SEE).
The report aims to enhance the knowlesge of local government officials and local decision-makers on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and to showcase good practices on urban DRR in cities of the Western Balkans and Turkey. The compendium built upon UNISDR’s ‘Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!’ campaign in collecting urban risk reduction experiences of the selected cities of the IPA beneficiary countries in the project which have participated in the Campaign.
Through the eight city case studies, the compendium examined hazards and the impacts of climate change affecting the cities of the Western Balkans and Turkey. It also analyzed institutional, financial and legal structures that the local authorities in urban areas of the region possess for their DRR and disaster risk management (DRM) activities. The case studies further observed whether the examined cities have disaster risk assessment and risk plans and in what ways they perform urban risk reduction and resilience-building activities. The analysis and observations in this compendium demonstrate that the cities of the Western Balkans and Turkey are prone to multiple hazards such as floods, earthquakes, intense rain, heavy snow, landslides, fires and storms, some of which may intensify with climate change. Due to inherent socio-economic and spatial vulnerabilities and inadequate institutional capacities, cities in the region are susceptible to major disasters that may initiate from these hazards.
Despite challenges, this compendium shows that there are many good practices in the region. Cities in the Western Balkans and Turkey have started to channel the information on hazards to risk plans and DRR activities. However, local authorities need to be further supported by technical and financial capacities. Concise identification of risks, entailing enhanced micro-level data, will better define and extend the type of risk reduction and resilience-building activities that are being used by local authorities. Horizontal coordination between departments in local authorities and vertical coordination between local, regional and national authorities and their development and planning agendas are essential. Furthermore, local authorities need to include a bottom-up approach, by way of involving community organizations and vulnerable groups into the decision-making process, which will ensure implementation of DRR actions.