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close this bookDisaster Mitigation - 2nd Edition (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - Disaster Management Training Programme - United Nations Development Programme , 1994, 64 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUnited Nations reorganization and the Disaster Management Training Programme
View the documentIntroduction
close this folderPart 1 - Introduction to mitigation concepts
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe sanitary revolution: a paradigm for disaster mitigation
View the documentKnow your enemy: hazards and their effects
View the documentSaving life and reducing economic disruption
View the documentTargeting mitigation where it has most effect
View the documentVulnerability
close this folderSpecific Hazards and Mitigation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFloods and water hazards
View the documentEarthquakes
View the documentVolcanic eruption
View the documentLand instabilities
View the documentStrong winds (typhoons, hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms and tornados)
View the documentTechnological hazards
View the documentDrought and desertification
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 2 - Actions to reduce risk
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentReducing hazard vs reducing vulnerability
View the documentTools, powers and budgets
View the documentCommunity-based mitigation
View the documentThe menu of mitigation actions
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 3 - Mitigation strategies
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAims and methods
View the documentEconomics of mitigation
View the documentPracticalities of mitigation
View the documentOpportunities for mitigation: post-disaster implementation
View the documentEmpowerment and community-based mitigation
View the documentSUMMARY
close this folderPart 4 - Implementing organizations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentBuilding up skills and institutions
View the documentThe regional context: a problem shared
View the documentInternational exchange of expertise
View the documentSupporting decision-making: external specialists
View the documentKnowledge dissemination
View the documentInternational decade for natural disaster reduction
View the documentDisaster mitigation in UNDP country programming
View the documentInitial phases of the UNDP country programming exercise
View the documentSUMMARY
View the documentAnnex 1: Profile of selected United Nations agencies and their activities in disaster mitigation
View the documentAnnex 2: Acronyms
View the documentAnnex 3: Additional reading
View the documentGlossary
View the documentModule evaluation

Annex 1: Profile of selected United Nations agencies and their activities in disaster mitigation


United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs

Palais des Nations

CH-1211 Geneva 10

Tel: (+4122) 917 1234
Fax: (+4122) 917 0023
Telex: 414242 DHA CH

UNDRO, the predecesor to UN DHA, was established in 1971 to mobilize and coordinate international emergency relief to areas struck by disaster. In 1991 it was reorganized as the Geneva office of the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs. This office is also charged with promoting disaster preparedness and prevention measures in nations and regions at risk. The main focus of its activities in mitigation (disaster prevention and preparedness) is to promote the study of risks and their reduction as well as emergency planning for natural disasters through such means as collection and dissemination of information on relevant scientific and technological developments. Divisions in DHA-Geneva consist of the Relief Co-ordination Branch, the Disaster Mitigation Branch which is part of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), and the Information and Disaster Data Systems Management.

Technical assistance in disaster mitigation

UN DHA is encouraging national authorities to make disaster preparedness an integral part of national planning. Technical assistance is provided to countries on request. Assistance in mitigation planning has been provided to




















Saudi Arabia and Somalia

Tunisia and others.

Past projects in disaster mitigation

Activities in cooperation with regional inter-government organizations include:

1986 establishment and subsequent development of a regional training center for Disaster Management at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok

Training activities for the Pan Caribbean Project on disaster mitigation

National training projects in Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Nepal etc.

Mediterranean Seismic Risk Project


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

7, place de Fontenoy

75700 Paris

Tel: 45683910
Telex: 204461 Paris

UNESCO has been engaged since 1960 in the assessment and mitigation of risks from natural hazards of geological origin (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and landslides) and contributes to the study of hazards of hydrometeorological origin (storms, floods, prolonged droughts, desertification and avalanches). UNESCO undertakes a Natural Hazards subprogram in the science sector of its activities within which most of its work on disaster mitigation is carried out. Other associated work, such as the protection of educational buildings and of cultural monuments is implemented through its Educational and Cultural Sectors. The relatively small budget available to the Natural Hazards subprogram has been successful in mobilizing extra budgetary operational projects in most parts of the world. UNESCO became, in 1965, the organization through which international cooperation in tsunami warning was formally initiated, and set up the International Tsunami Information Center, based in Honolulu.

Past projects

Intergovernmental Meetings on Seismology and Earthquake Engineering (1964), Assessment and Mitigation of Earthquake Risk (1976) which began much of the research and application of earthquake protection.

Establishment of specialized centers

International Seismological Center, United Kingdom

Regional Seismological Center for South America (CERESIS) Peru, 1968

International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering, Japan, 1963

Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology, Yugoslavia, 1965

Initiation of regional project initiatives

Regional Seismological Network in Southeast Asia, 1973

Earthquake Risk Reduction in Balkan Region 1970-76, 1980-84, 1988-

Program for Assessment and Mitigation of Earthquake Risk in the Arab Region (PAMERAR)

National project initiatives

Flood Forecasting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Andes Valleys and Cuzco area, Peru

National Seismological Observatory Network, Romania 1979

Strong-Motion Telemetry Network in Beijing Region, China 1981

Modernization and Reinforcement of Seismological Services, Vietnam, 1987

Seismic Microzonation Study in El Asnam region, Algeria 1983

Protection & preservation of cultural heritage

Post disaster missions to many countries to advise on repair and future protection, including floods in Florence and land subsidence in Venice, Italy, Restoration of earthquake damaged monuments, Burma 1981, Protection against flooding of Moenjadoro, Pakistan 1974

Studies and publications

Cause and Prevention of landslides and publication of guidelines on landslides hazards zonation

World Catalogue of Very Large Floods

Flood Flow Computation


United Nations Center for Human Settlements

PO Box 30030


Tel: (+254-2) 333930
Fax: (+254-2) 520-724
Telex: 22996

UNHCS (Habitat) is the organization within the United Nations system charged with the specific responsibility of promoting human settlements development world-wide through the execution of human settlements technical cooperation projects. Since its establishment in 1978, UNHCS has undertaken a number of pre and post disaster mitigation projects. Of the approximately 250 projects in over 100 countries currently being supported by Habitat, over 30 of them focus on disaster mitigation in human settlements or incorporate disaster-mitigation aspects in development projects.

Pre- and post-disaster planning

The impacts of natural and man-made disasters on human settlements can be reduced to a large extent through appropriate pre-disaster and post-disaster planning. UNHCS (Habitat) had broad experience in the design and implementation of disaster-mitigation programs concerned with a variety of the most common natural disasters which affect human settlements - both their built and natural environments. Within the framework of these programs UNHCS (Habitat) has worked closely with national institutions to develop innovative methodologies of hazard and vulnerability analysis to determine risk levels and to assist in the preparation and implementation of plans to attenuate the effects of such events in the future. Designs for more resistant structures, as well as comprehensive strategies for post-disaster reconstruction have been developed in a number of countries. UNHCS (Habitat) is also in the forefront of promoting the incorporation of natural-disaster mitigation concepts in urban planning and management.

Past Projects

Earthquake reconstruction advisory mission, Philippines, 1990

Reconstruction and earthquake mitigation, Iran, 1990

Reconstruction of flood damaged areas, Punjab, Pakistan, 1990

Earthquake Reconstruction and rehabilitation programs, Nepal, 1988

Reconstruction of rural housing after floods, Bangladesh, 1988

Seismic Mitigation in the planning of the historic center of Mexico City, 1985

Hurricane rehabilitation and disaster-prevention program, Turks and Cacos Islands, 1985

Disaster prevention and rehabilitation after typhoon, Vietnam, 1985

Post-earthquake rural housing, Yemen, 1982

Reconstruction of Lamu, Kenya after fire, 1982

Hurricane-resistant housing, Domenica, 1980

Reconstruction of human settlements in Algeria, 1980

Physical development plan and master plans for region of Montenegro, Yugoslavia, 1979


United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Vienna International Center

PO Box 300

A-1400 Vienna

Tel: (+43-1-) 211-310
Fax: (+43-1-) 232-156
Telex: 135612 UNO A

UNIDO was established in 1967 to promote and accelerate industrialization in developing countries. UNIDO exists to promote international cooperation in industrialization and to provide technical assistance at the request of governments, to help acquire practical know-how in a broad range of industrial activities.

UNIDO has been involved in the field of disaster mitigation since 1979 within the overall context of promotion and strengthening of the construction industry, and has a mandate for the protection of industrial facilities in hazard-prone areas and in promoting industrial safety to reduce technological hazards to the population.

UNIDO provides technical assistance in the reconstruction and recovery following major disasters, including the rehabilitation of industrial sectors, revitalization of building material manufacture and the construction industry for reconstruction. Emergency Industrial assistance program of UNIDO includes activity after disasters in Jamaica, Mexico, Sudan, Bangladesh and Soviet Armenia.

UNIDO coordinates a program aimed at reducing the risks of natural disasters by increasing the awareness and know-how of government agencies and research institutions of participating countries in construction techniques for increasing the structural resistance of buildings to earthquakes, cyclones and floods and by strengthening their capability to formulate and implement policies and practical measures aimed at mitigating natural disasters.

Past projects

Building Construction Under Seismic Conditions in the Balkan Regions, including Seismic Design Codes, Design and Construction of a range of building types and Repair and Strengthening of buildings, 1979

A Seismic Construction Strengthening and Repair of Buildings, Mexico 1985

Rubber Base Isolation for Protecting Buildings from the Effect of Earthquakes, Malaysia, 1982

Interregional Demonstration on Base Isolation for Seismic Construction USA, 1986

Participation in Seismic Risk Reduction in the Mediterranean Region, 1987

Regional Policy Seminar on Natural Disaster Resistant Housing, Beijing, China 1990


United Nations Environmental Program

P.O. Box 30552


Tel: (+254-2) 333930/520600
Fax: (+254-2) 520711
Telex: 22068 UNEP KE

UNEP has been described as the environmental conscience of the UN system. As such its primary function is not to do, but to motivate and inspire, to raise the level of environmental action and awareness on all levels of society, worldwide and to coordinate the environmental work of all the UN's organizations and agencies. UNEP's main tool within the UN system is the System-wide Medium-term Environmental Program (SWMTEP) - a six-year plan for action across the board of United Nations activities. SWMTEP gives the UN system the chance to streamline or expand existing programs and to identify what still needs to be done. The plan is coordinated through the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination. During 1988, UNEP cooperated on 63 projects with other UN agencies and bodies and on 123 projects with intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

Environmental concerns of UNEP

The ozone layer


Waste and waste disposal

Marine environment

Water and water supply

Land degradation


Biological diversity

Industry and industrial pollution

Energy efficiency and pollution

Settlements, health and population expansion

Chemical hazards