Magazine article UNESCO Courier

UNESCO and Natural Disaster Reduction

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

UNESCO and Natural Disaster Reduction

Article excerpt

UNESCO's Unit for Disaster Reduction seeks to encourage the adoption of policies and action designed to anticipate potential risks and favouring a shift in emphasis away from post-disaster reaction and response toward pre-disaster planning, preparedness and prevention.

For further information:

Unit for Disaster Reduction Bureau for Coordination of Environmental Programmes Science Sector UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France Tel: (33) (0)145 68 41 20. Fax: (33) (0)1 45 68 58 30 Email: b.rouhban@unesco.org

Documentation available on request:

Standing up to natural disasters, 1991 (also in French and Spanish)

Many UNESCO programmes have proven experience in the scientific study of natural hazards. They include:

* THE INTERNATIONAL HYDROLOGICAL PROGRAMME (IHP)

IHP is designed to improve management of the world's freshwater resources. Its activities include

* improving scientific knowledge of the water cycle

* gathering information, e.g. on climate, surface and groundwater conditions, and water use

* helping train personnel that will minimize risks in hazardous situations

* developing models and observing systems to help forecast river floods and storm surges

International Hydrological Programme (IHP) Division of Water Sciences UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France Tel: (33) (0)1 45 68 40 44. Fax: (33) (0)1 45 68 58 11 Email: ihp@unesco.org Internet: http://www.pangea.org/orgs/unesco/

* THE MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE (MAB) PROGRAMME

MAB studies long-term natural hazards such as drought and human-induced desertification. These can can be just as devastating as rapid-onset events, but reducing their impact calls for a different set of skills, particularly the fostering of greater ecological and social awareness. MAB projects to mitigate the effects of drought and desertification in Africa have notably concerned the Sahel countries and the Turkana region of Kenya.

Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Division of Ecological Sciences UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France Tel: (33) (0)1 45 68 41 51. Fax: (33) (0)1 45 68 58 04 Email: mab@unesco.org Internet: http://www.unesco.org:80//mab/themabnet.html

* THE INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CORRELATION PROGRAMME (IGCP)

To understand the changes which will affect the future of the earth's continents and islands, it is necessary to study past and present geological processes. IGCP, a joint venture of UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), compares and correlates geological processes, events and formations, including rocks, fossils and mineral deposits. Projects make use of and contribute to the further development of scientific knowledge and technology, from deep-core drilling to space imagery.

International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) Division of Earth Sciences UNESCO, 1, rue Miollis, 75732 Paris Cedex 15, France Fax: (33) (0)1 45 68 58 22

* THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION (IOC)

In 1965, in the aftermath of the great destruction caused by the tsunami which struck the coast of Chile on 22 May 1960, the IOC accepted an offer made by the United States to expand its Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu to become the headquarters of an International Pacific Tsunami Warning System. Today 25 nations belong to the Pacific System, plus some territories that maintain stations for it. …

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