UNESCO General Conference Endorses DRR Principles – November 2017

The 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference held in November 2017 significantly reinforced the activities of this International Organisation in the area of DRR. Through resolution 35, the General Conference endorsed an Addendum, as set out in Document C/57, to the 2015 “Strategy for the reinforcement of UNESCO’s actions for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict”, with the aim to create a significant and timely synergy between this latter document and DRR inputs provided by the Sendai Framework for Action 2015-2030.

In particular the Addendum lays down a strategic framework for UNESCO’s activities in this area, in order “to enhance Member States’ capacity to successfully implement the culture and heritage-related provisions” of the Sendai Framework. Notably, the Addendum identifies two intertwined objectives, namely: “1) Strengthen the ability of Member States to prevent, mitigate and recover the loss of cultural heritage and diversity as a result of disasters caused by natural and human-induced hazards … (2) Incorporate consideration for culture into the DRR sector and humanitarian action related to disasters by engaging with the relevant stakeholders outside the cultural domain”. To reach such goals, the Addendum was drafted as to mirror and adapt to the cultural heritage context the four priorities and related actions elaborated by the UN DRR Framework. Through such an approach, UNESCO has been able to create a significant link between its initiatives and universal DRR paradigms, confirming the growing interest of this International organisations towards challenges posed by disasters, as confirmed by the establishment, in 2014, of its Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit.