Home / Archive by category "Blog"
The 5th UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

The 5th UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in collaboration with the Mexican Government organized the 5th Global Platform in Cancun, Mexico on May 22-26, 2017. ‘From commitment to action’ the slogan of this global meeting calls national leaders to sum efforts with academia, public and private sector to reduce the impacts of disasters worldwide.

According to Robert Glasser, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DRR, is fundamental to understand the risks in a cross-sector approach to plan a better and resilient future. By 2030 more than 75% of the urban population will live in disaster-prone cities, in particular to hydrometeorological phenomena; therefore countries should systematically recoup economic losses from investing in cost-effective prevention measures such as early warning systems, multi-hazard mapping, forecast-based financing for early action and risk communication to make cities more resilient when disaster strikes, resulting in significant economic and social benefits in the short, middle and long term coping with sustainable development.

President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto highlighted his commitment to support and help nations vulnerable to climate change by providing capacity building, economic grants and additional resources that complement their particular needs in DRR at the regional and national level with the goal to seek resilient urban communities.

Concisely, the outcome of the Global Platform for DRR was that at least 87 countries would account disaster losses by 2020 resulting from the impacts of climate change.



On June 16th – 17th 2016, The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) organized in the city of Florence a High Level Forum gathering Ministers, Mayors, policymakers, local government authorities, private sector, experts and partners from across the world with interest and engagement to promote the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction at local and community levels. The Sendai Framework was adopted at the Third UN World Conference on DRR in March 2016 and incorporated into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as it aims to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk in terms of human lives and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries over the next 15 years.

The High Level Forum comes 50 years after the Italian city was devastated by floods which killed 101 people and caused tremendous damage to heritage buildings and arts. In the two days, more than 350 participants from around the world discussed the importance of urban resilience to disasters, governance, options and good practices of how to address the increased impacts of natural and man-made hazards in cities and World Heritage properties. The event included a showcase of the Italian risk awareness campaign “I don’t take risks” by the Italian Civil Protection which was launched in 2011 and a guided visit to the monumental complex of Santa Croce – a masterpiece that has been hit by 55 floods since the 13th century – to acknowledge the consequences of flooding in cultural heritage.

Governments are responsible for the effective implementation of the Sendai Framework at city and community level. Prevention through training, information and public awareness are crucial to protect the precious life of inhabitants exposed by potential risks such as floods, earthquakes or tsunamis. Prior investment in precautionary measures, better urban planning policies to build back better, scientific applied research and more public and private partnerships are also critical elements in a resilient city.

Countries are not immune to the danger of floods, in fact flood risk is a major concert to at least 250 cities across the world affecting million inhabitants every year. Based on historic records and lessons learned, cities required a change of approach to address risk. For instance, Florence has launched a “zero volume” policy which will prevent building any new construction in the city and encourage rebuilding on existing sites respecting the same volume and space to better protect the environment.

The importance of international agreements (i.e. the Sendai Framework for DRR, the Sustainable Development Goals –SDGs, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change) for transforming the manner in which human settlements develop into safe, equitable, resilient and sustainable cities plays a key role globally.

Among the distinguished guests who were present in the event were Mr. Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Kiren Rijiju, India’s Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, Fabrizio Curcio, Head of the Italian Civil Protection Department, Ms. Paola Albrito, European Regional Chief of UNISDR and Nicola Valluzzi, President and “Community Champion” for Disaster Risk Reduction of Potenza.

The important workshop was a very valuable and interesting experience for WARREDOC students and research associates that participated for understanding DRR towards the UN 2030 Agenda and meeting international experts for tailoring this debate towards the implementation of WARREDOC mission and goals.

If you are interested in this topic and you want to be involved please email us at



by Sara Belligoni

On May the 25th and 26th of 2016, Università per Stranieri di Perugia hosted the 1st GIS Crowdmapping Workshop. The initiative stems from the involvement of a large group of students and young researchers whom have embraced the idea of the Water Resource Research & Documentation Center (WARREDOC) to produce a digital map of the Italian UNESCO cultural and heritage. The project was conceived in the last few months during which the WARREDOC – with the support of the Orientation and Communication Office of UNISTRAPG – was committed in a series of meetings to introduce the youths to the scientific and professional potential value represented by the increasing availability and easily using of Open Data and GIS technologies, with the aim to produce thematic maps drawing from the collective commitment of new aspiring digital mappers.

In the two days, over 130 people were involved in the Workshop which allowed to map almost all of the 51 UNESCO sites that from north to south characterize the Italian territory, enriching it with architecture, culture and history. The digital mappers created, individually or in groups, not only digital cartographies, but also Story Maps taking advantage from the ESRI GIS technology in order to recount the sites of our cultural heritage through a personal vision, transforming the User Experience in a map.

The main goal of the Workshop was to create a Digital Map of all the UNESCO sites in Italy, specifying their location and the extension, since many of the UNESCO sites in Italy are represented by whole cities, like Rome, Venice or Urbino, or from large areas, such as the Costiera Amalfitana or the Sacri Monti di Piemonte e Lombardia. For a future use of the collective map, it is even more important to identify potential risks from which these assets would be affected, which derive both from natural characteristics and human behavior. A careful analysis of the territory, its morphology, and the activities that characterize the site, has been very important for an efficient completion of the map. Not only that, the new ArcGIS Pro capabilities allow the integration with information from social media features that, through the analysis of public contents, accede to see the conditions in which the site is and, in case of disasters, a real-time up-to-date.

Several studies were developed over the years above the UNESCO sites, in addition to the official UNESCO documentation, but this experiment to create, thanks to the GIS, a digital map from the User Experience implementing informal data with Open Data and Social Media, is one of a kind. A further goal is to innovate through the involvement and the scientific dissemination for the environmental management and protection of our cultural heritage.

The community of young participants, coming from diverse professional backgrounds and geographical origins, motivated the WARREDOC to continue the activity by selecting a group of volunteers to continue the work for the creation of an Italian cultural heritage’s collective map, but not only. Because of several foreign research centers contacted us being interested in replicating the event format, the initiative is evolving in order to create a website dedicated to the publication of a Digital Map at international level.

Thanks to the support and collaboration of the UNESCO Chair on Water Resources Management and Culture, the UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme, ESRI Italy, the Umbria Region and InnLabs, the Workshop represented the starting point for a project that will culminate in October 2016 when, again in the city of Perugia, the final version of the Digital Map will be officially presented to the jury of experts that will reward the best three projects.