- Published on: 18 Oct 2016
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UNOSD participation in the side event at the Habitat IIIMr. D'Aragon, UNOSD Senior Sustainable Development Expert was one of the Lead discussants of this High-level event. Using the case of Vanuatu as an example, he illustrated how traditional knowledge, emergency disaster resilient shelter building and community organization practices, together with early warning systems using modern communication technologies reaching even the most remote rural areas could inform disaster response and help enhance the resilience of urban communities that are highly exposed to multiple hazards, including the adverse impacts of climate change.
He explained to the audience how those strategies could particularly be helpful to save lives and material losses for residents living in informal settlements, where substandard housing, poor drainage and inadequate basic services contribute to increase their vulnerability to such disasters, if integrated to other recent initiatives such as, building code revision, urban planning and slum upgrading promoting compactness, nature-based solutions for green infrastructure, energy and open spaces, aiming at reducing environmental impacts and costs while creating job opportunities and stimulating the local economy.
During the open discussion, the 70 or so participants from government officials, UN agencies, civil society, academia, youth and students, appreciated such fledgling initiatives while deploring a so small number of them, urging SIDS to adopt such integrated approaches into their official urban planning and management systems.