The World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) in Kobe, Japan, 18-22 January 2005
The second World Conference on Disaster Reduction will be held on 18-22 January 2005, in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, to coincide with the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaiji earthquake that occurred on 17 January 1995, killing more than 6,400 people and injuring more than 40,000.
During the course of the Conference, UNEP will be launching a key publication, "Environmental Management and Disaster preparedness: Lessons Learnt from the Tokage Typhoon (Typhoon 23 of 2004) in Japan" at a press conference to be held on 19 January 2005.
UNEP is also one of the lead agencies, along with UNCRD and WHO, in organizing the WCDR’s Cluster 4 on "Reducing the Underlying Risk Factors”. In emphasizing its key message of linking environment and disasters UNEP is organizing a Thematic Session on the theme "Environmental Management and Disaster Reduction: Building a Multi-Stakeholder Partnership". A number of high-profile speakers are slated, including Japan's Minister for Environment, Yuriko Koike, and UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer
The first World Conference on Disaster Reduction took place in Yokohama in May 1994 and set a plan of action called the Yokohama strategy. This strategy set a number of concrete guidelines for action on prevention, preparedness, and mitigation of disaster risk for the past ten years.
In February 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 58/214, in which it decided to convene a second World Conference on Disaster Reduction reflecting the international community’s desire to take stock of progress made since the Yokohama Conference to define a new plan of action for the years 2005 to 2015, to facilitate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
The objective of the conference is to agree on clear directions and priorities for action at international, regional, national, and local levels to ensure implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and to support the achievement of the objectives of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Development Goals.
The Kobe conference also aims to report on the review of the Yokohama Strategy and its plan of action, with a view to update the guiding framework on disaster reduction for the twenty-first century; to identify specific activities aimed at ensuring the implementation of relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on vulnerability, risk assessment, and disaster management; to share practices and lessons learned to further disaster reduction within the context of attaining sustainable development, and to identify gaps and challenges; to increase awareness of the importance of disaster reduction policies, thereby facilitating and promoting the implementation of those policies; 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 relevant provisions of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.