13 – 17 May 2019 | GENEVA – Making city resilience as one of the regional focus, UCLG ASPAC, in collaboration with its global partner, introduced initiatives of Asia-Pacific cities in mitigating disaster risk to international community through The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019, an event organised by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and hosted by Switzerland Government.

UCLG ASPAC, in collaboration with UCLG, UN-Habitat, and UNDRR organised a consultation meeting of local and regional governments on 14 May 2019 and hosted by the City of Geneva. Mayor Sami Kanaan of Geneva welcomed all participants and expressed his engagement and commitment as leader of the UCLG Taskforce for Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises. Other welcome remarks were addressed by Kirsi Madi, Director at UNDRR and Esteban Leon from UN-Habitat. Both of them emphasised the importance of local and regional governments in DRR and the importance of the “Making Cities Resilient Campiagn”. The Secretary General of UCLG World Secretariat, Emilia Saiz highlighted the role that UCLG has played in the international efforts to reduce disaster risk, looking back to the participation in the Hyogo Framework and the approval of the Sendai Framework in 2015 up to future action of the network.

There were also three panels discussions. The first panel discussed the role of local and regional governments in the achievement of the Sendai Framework and its localisation. Particiapting cities from Asia Pacific, city of Sendai (Japan) and Christchurch (New Zealand) shared their experiences on how the city recovered and rebuilt from past disaster. Vice Mayor of Sendai reinforced the importance of local governments’ role in all stages of disaster and emergency management to enable a continuum between emergency relief and sustainable development. Chief Resilient Office of Christchurch, Mike Gillooly presented how the city resilient programme and its strategy can help in the assessment and planning stage of reducing city’s vulnerability; and to foster the development of resilient territories starting from a crisis.

Moreover, UCLG ASPAC, in cooperation with UCLG Learning, the UCLG Taskforce for Territorial Prevention and Management of Crises, the city of Geneva, UN-Habitat and UNDRR, on 15 May 2019, facilitated a side event of the Global Platform entitled “Cities Face Crises, a Global Approach for Resilient Cities”. The session gathered experts, local elected representatives, private sectors, and other stakeholders for an interactive discussion on how cities can further localise the Sendai Framework and be better prepared in facing crises. Furthermore, the UCLG ASPAC Secretary General, Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, delivered a closing remark and message regarding the important actions need to be done with limitted financial resources such as planting mangrove and trees at costal area to prevent tsunami wave. She also emphasised that resilient is complementary to sustainability.

The final declaration of local and regional governments was officially presented to the Global Platform 2019 by Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Region of Nouakchott, Mauritania in a plenary session the next day.