20th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Congress invited to take part in UN campaign on “Making Cities Resilient”
Strasbourg, 29.03.2011. - Eight out of ten of the world´s most populous cities are at risk of being severely affected by an earthquake. Six out of ten are vulnerable to storm surge and tsunami waves. These alarming figures were relayed to the Council of Europe Congress by Helena Molin-Valdes, Deputy Director of the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), during a debate entitled “Protecting cities from natural disasters” held on 23 March 2011, in the framework of the spring session.
Ms Molin-Valdes invited the Congress to actively participate in a worldwide campaign for the prevention of catastrophes, launched by the UNISDR. The campaign, entitled “Making Cities Resilient”, aims to inform local authorities and help them to develop best practices, making them better equipped to deal with natural hazards and improve the tools at hand.
“The nuclear disaster in Japan brings the question of the consequences for local authorities to the fore”, noted Congress Vice-President Jean-Claude Frécon, recalling the “Slavutych Appeal” launched by the Congress in 2006, 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster. This appeal reaffirms basic principles to guide public authorities in nuclear safety matters, such as: the involvement of local and regional authorities, neighbourhood solidarity, transparency, information and consultation of the citizens. “Our efforts fully correspond with the objectives of the United Nations campaign,” he underlined.
Stepan Kirichuk, President of the Russian National Congress of Municipalities, highlighted the importance of the co-ordinating role played by local authorities in facing natural disasters. ”In 2010, 15 incidents linked to natural hazards were recorded. The human and economic consequences are increasingly major, and this deeply affects the people living in our municipalities” he explained.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will participate in the Congress of Resilient Cities held in Bonn (Germany) from 3 to 5 June 2011 by ICLEI – “Local Governments for Sustainability”.