What is the International Strategy?

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction


The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction reflects a major shift from the traditional emphasis on disaster response to disaster reduction, and in effect seeks to promote a "culture of prevention".

UNDRR is the secretariat of the International Strategy and mandated by the UN General Assembly to ensure its implementation.

The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction builds upon the experience of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-1999), which was launched by the General Assembly in 1989. The International Strategy embodies the principles articulated in a number of major documents adopted during the Decade, including, in particular, the Yokohama Strategy for a Safer World: Guidelines for Natural Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation and its Plan of Action, and the text below entitled "A Safer World in the 21st Century: Disaster and Risk Reduction".

Both of these were endorsed at the Programme Forum on the International Decade held in Geneva from 5 to 9 July 1999, which also adopted the Geneva Mandate on Disaster Reduction.

A Safer World in the 21st Century: Disaster and Risk Reduction


While hazards are inevitable, and the elimination of all risk is impossible, there are many technical measures, traditional practices, and public experience that can reduce the extent or severity of economic and social disasters. Hazards and emergency requirements are a part of living with nature, but human behaviour can be changed. In the words of the Secretary General,

"We must, above all, shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. Prevention is not only more humane than cure; it is also much cheaper... Above all, let us not forget that disaster prevention is a moral imperative, no less than reducing the risks of war".


To enable all communities to become resilient to the effects of natural, technological and environmental hazards, reducing the compound risks they pose to social and economic vulnerabilities within modern societies.

To proceed from protection against hazards to the management of risk through the integration of risk prevention into sustainable development.




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