NRC launches the Adopt-a-City Program for the City of Manila with BPI Foundation and ICTSI Foundation

The National Resilience Council (NRC) forges a partnership with the City of Manila and private sector partners from BPI Foundation (BPIF) and the International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) Foundation through the signing of the Adopt-a-City Agreement on December 18, 2020.

The Adopt-a-City Program

The Adopt-a-City Program of the National Resilience Council (NRC) is an innovative pathway for businesses to collaborate directly with local governments, academic partners, civil society organizations, and communities in transforming local climate and disaster risk landscapes.

Private sector investments are envisioned to strengthen the evidence-informed risk governance by building knowledge and capacities of cities towards climate and disaster resilience. The Program intersects businesses’ environment, society, and governance goals with the human, economic, infrastructure, and environment resilience of their communities.  It is grounded on whole-of-society effort towards risk reduction and uses a systems lens in order to co-create science and technology-based solutions to a local government’s specific priorities and challenges.  These may include investments in disaster-resilient housing and infrastructure, jointly supporting the sustainability of social and environmental protection programs, providing opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs, as well as, enhancing financial literacy of informal livelihood earners and MSMEs.

The City of Manila as the Adopted City of BPI & ICTSI

Manila, as the heart of the Philippines’ capital, is an important center of the country’s economic, political, social, and cultural activities.  With a population of almost 2,000,000, it lies along the eastern shores of Manila Bay at the mouth of Pasig River. While it faces urban housing, social protection, infrastructure, and environmental challenges, Manila continues to be rich in potential. It is home to many of the country’s leading universities, a strong civil society presence, the Philippines’ principal trading port of entry, and symbiotic mix of large, small, and informal industries. These challenges and opportunities constitute Manila’s complex and dynamic risk landscape and highlight the importance of an informed crisis leadership and disaster risk governance.

The Adopt-a-City Program, therefore, aims to strengthen the leadership and governance capacities of local governments by adopting a resilience framework based on the interdependence of human development, a sustainable local economy, resilient infrastructure, and environmental sustainability through multi-stakeholder partnerships.  It is focused on building capacities to prevent hazards from becoming disasters through dynamic risk assessments and tools that address current needs and inform strategic and operational foresight. Should hazards occur, the program will allow the city to envision a climate and disaster-resilient future through pre-disaster recovery planning.

The NRC is honored to have the BPI Foundation and the ICTSI Foundation as private sector partners in this Program. The partnership promotes the vision of BPI Foundation of empowering every Filipino to live a better life. It also supports the BPI Foundation’s goals to uplift the social and economic well-being of the Filipino people through community resilience, financial inclusion, and economic empowerment. The partnership likewise reflects the vision of the ICTSI Foundation of transforming communities and improving lives and upholds ICTSI’s goal of implementing community welfare and social services and building disaster resilience of the community.

This multi-stakeholder partnership also reflects the commitments of the Philippines to the advancement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals, agreements on the Paris Climate Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda.

For more information about this program and other NRC initiatives, please email [email protected] or visit

Amb. Roberto Romulo of CPRF, Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga of NRC, Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso and BPI Foundation Vice President and Chairman Mr. Cezar Consing sign the NRC Adopt-a-City Program MOA. The signatories were joined by NRC Board Members Mr. Hans Sy, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Mr. Edgar Chua, Usec. Nestor Quinsay Jr., Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin S.J., Prof. Ernesto Garilao, BPI Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Ramon Jocson and BPI Foundation Executive Director, Owen Cammayo for a photo during the signing ceremony.
The NRC Adopt-a-City Program MOA signing by Amb. Roberto Romulo of CPRF, Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga of NRC, Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso and Ms. Filipina Laurena, Deputy Executive Director representing ICTSI Foundation President, Mr. Christian R. Gonzalez. The signatories were joined by NRC Board Members Mr. Hans Sy, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Mr. Edgar Chua, Usec. Nestor Quinsay Jr., Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin S.J., Prof. Ernesto Garilao, for a photo during the signing ceremony.

An update from Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction — 4 December 2020

In the newsletter circulated by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori reflects on the achievements made by different partner nations towards building disaster resilience and the global actions that need to be undertaken in line with Target E of Sendai Framework.

The Secretary-General expressed it very well in his message for World Tsunami Awareness Day (WTAD) on November 5: “Currently we are struggling with what some describe as a tsunami of death and disease due to COVID-19. This metaphor comes easily because living memory remains strong of the worst sudden onset disaster this century, the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 that took more than 227,000 lives.”

It is the uniquely deadly and destructive nature of tsunamis which led the UN General Assembly to add WTAD to the international calendar five years ago. WTAD has served as a rallying point not just for raising awareness of tsunami risk but disaster risk in general, and this year, the importance of disaster risk governance in particular.

#TsunamiDay was another opportunity to drive home the message that we need to increase the number of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020 in line with Target (e) of the Sendai Framework. It was a busy day which resulted in a huge response across our social media channels, reaching more than 1 million people, thanks to a campaign supported by the UN and countries on the front line of tsunami risk.

My morning started with the opening of the Third World Tsunami Museum Conference. Keeping alive the memory of past disasters and what we’ve learnt from them is key in raising tsunami awareness. I spoke about the ‘miracle of Kamaishi’, an incident which occurred during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami where school children acted on their learning to evacuate immediately and others in the community followed them, saving the lives of many.

It was clear to me listening to tsunami survivors and representatives of five featured museums from Indonesia, Japan, Portugal, Thailand and Hawaii, that visiting these memorials is often both very moving and deeply educational.

The Chair of the UNDRR Support Group, Amb Emilio Izquierdo of Ecuador, moderated our online panel discussion Ready for the Next Wave! He reminded the online audience that tsunamis do not happen in a vacuum. The cascading impacts from a tsunami can increase poverty and vulnerability to other events on disaster-prone coastlines.

UNDRR greatly values our partnership with IOC-UNESCO and it was encouraging to hear its Executive Secretary, Vladimir Ryabinin, highlight the value of Tsunami Ready initiatives in the Caribbean. UNDP’s Ronald Jackson emphasized the importance of institutionalizing best practice when it comes to preparedness and early warning. We also heard sharp insights and good practices into managing tsunami risk from an impressive line-up of Permanent Representatives from countries on the front-line of disaster risk: Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, the Maldives and Portugal.


I first met the Prime Minister of Mongolia, Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh, when Mongolia hosted the 2018 Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Ulaanbaatar. He has long been a strong advocate of disaster risk reduction and ensured in 2017, when he was the Deputy Prime Minister that all 22 major cities in the country joined the Making Cities Resilient Campaign.

The Prime Minister gave a major boost to the launch of the new Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) initiative on 28 October, on the last day of the Daring Cities conference convened by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). He confirmed through a video message that his government has fulfilled its commitment to implement Target E of the Sendai Framework and that all its major cities are now implementing local DRR strategies in a country where 80% of its 2.8 million people live in cities.

MCR2030 will offer cities around the world a clear, three-stage resilience roadmap for assessing, planning and implementing risk reduction towards building their resilience. The resilience roadmap will link cities within a peer-to-peer learning environment and communities of practice, supported by access to tools, technical specialists and advisers.

MCR2030 builds on the success of the ten-year-old Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which concludes at the end of 2020 and has more than 4,300 city signatories. MCR2030 will run from January 2021 to the end of 2030.Our core partners of this initiative are: C40 Cities, ICLEI, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Resilient Cities Network (RCN), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), World Council on City Data (WCCD) and the World Bank Group.


There has been an acceleration since 2017 of Governments’ efforts to develop disaster risk reduction strategies that are aligned with the Sendai Framework and coherent with other key global framework agreements including the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our recently released status report on Target E implementation 2020 provides an overview of progress towards achieving this key objective of having a substantial increase in the number of national and local disaster risk reduction strategies in place by the end of this year. This report covers progress made by Member States from 2015 to 2019. The figures and analyses provided in this report build on self-assessments and data input by Member State Governments into the Sendai Framework Monitor as of 21 August 2020.


Anticipate and Act — that was the title of the Stockholm High-Level Meeting on addressing the humanitarian impact of climate change co-hosted by the Swedish Government, UNDRR and WFP in collaboration with the Swedish Red Cross.

The meeting featured two panel conversations, one focused on food insecurity as a result of climate change and the other panel focused on solutions and how to reduce and anticipate risk.

It was clear consensus that more concrete steps need to be taken to protect the most vulnerable from the impacts of climate change. Sweden, leading by example, announced at this conference its support for the Horn of Africa Partnership for Early Warning and Early Action with UNDRR, WFP and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as partners. A cell will be established at the IGAD Climate Predication and Application Centre in Nairobi to help operationalize a regional multi-hazard early warning system. Special attention will be given to flood and drought risk.

There was general agreement that there need to be closer links between humanitarian and development action. My own view is that humanitarian action needs to happen with an eye to avoiding a recurrence of predictable events and include disaster risk reduction measures, which will continue long after the response phase is over to reduce future vulnerability.

In a joint opinion piece with Peter Eriksson, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation, and David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, I argue that in the context of the on-going climate emergency and COVID-19, there is “an opportunity to hardwire the priorities of climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction into national systems that are not yet fully equipped to deal with the grim realities of a riskier world.”


It is easy to get lost in the tragedy and numbers related to disasters, but I was pleased to be reminded on the 50th commemoration of Cyclone Bhola that prevention does save lives and that Bangladesh has made enormous strides in early warning and early action.

Estimates of the death toll from Cyclone Bhola which struck the coast of Bangladesh on November 12/13 in 1970 vary from 300,000 to one million. Cyclone Bulbul, a cyclone of similar strength, which struck the same coastal area in 2019 killed some 20 people. More than 2.4million people had been evacuated before the cyclone struck land as part of the Cyclone Preparedness Programme. The CPP is jointly run by the Government and the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and other partners.

In a solemn ceremony to remember the tragedy, Bangladesh Minister of Disaster Management and Relief, Dr. Emanur Rahman, highlighted and recognized the role of CPP volunteers in achieving a remarkable reduction in mortality from cyclones over the years. I would also like to salute the efforts of the 55,000 CPP volunteers so ably led by Mr. Ahmadul Haque, Head of the CPP, and Mr. Feroz Salahuddin, Secretary-General of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. It is encouraging to know that they are expanding their focus to cover other hazards; long may their work prosper.

* * *


I hope that you will find this update useful and informative.
If you would like more information about UNDRR’s many activities, please do visit and please — stay safe and well.


Source: The Philippine Star – Filipino Worldview | Columnist: Amb. Roberto R. Romulo | Guest Author: Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga | Date: November 20, 2020

For this week, I have asked Ms. Antonia “Toni” Yulo Loyzaga, president of the National Resilience Council, and trustee and former executive director of the Manila Observatory to be my guest columnist.

As of this writing, UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) reports that over three million people across eight regions in Luzon have been affected by Typhoon Ulysses.  Over one million of these are in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela, where waters from the Magat Dam flowed into the main river. The Marikina River rose almost to Ondoy levels and many parts of the city remain flooded and covered in mud. Almost 500,000 are in evacuation centers or are somehow stranded in their homes. Ulysses has claimed over 70 lives and many are still missing.  Power supply was disrupted in 316 cities and municipalities. Water service and internet connectivity interruptions are widespread. Agricultural damage is estimated at over $200 million.

While many are still reeling from being hit by three typhoons in the span of three weeks, this historical event begs three main questions: 1) What was the real nature of these hazards? 2) What is the full extent of their impact on people, ecosystems, and engineered systems? and, 3) Who was in charge and accountable for risk governance?

There are no easy and quick answers. These questions and more are matters best determined by careful and deliberate disaster forensics. Specifically, on the nature of the hazards: Do we know how much rain there was, and when and where it actually fell? What specific wind speeds caused the damage to structures and lifelines? What were the physics driving these typhoons?

Understanding the magnitude of the impacts will be revealed only when we investigate: Who and what was really in harm’s way prior to, during, and after the typhoons hit? Why were they there, and could they have been safer? What was the state of the ecosystems, lifelines, buildings, and communities within the track and range of the typhoons?

Risk governance is about authority, accountability, and responsibility. How soon did we comprehend the nature of these systems and foresee their potential impacts? Who knew about these, how was the risk communicated at the national, local, and community levels?  What was done by the government and stakeholders to prevent the disaster from happening, instead of just preparing to respond to it? All of these must be studied against a timeline envisioning the consequences of action and inaction, and the resulting state of readiness to face future risks.

Disaster risk is briefly defined as the potential for damage and loss. As discussed above, and as many of us know today, it is the result of the three elements colliding: The hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Underlying these three and mitigating possible impacts, is capacity – that is, the knowledge, skills, tools, and the organizational structure and culture to implement measures to reduce risk and invest in resilience.

This last factor is arguably the most important as it encompasses the capability of leadership in both the public and private sector to own the challenges that the hazards pose to a landscape characterized by development inequities. It requires knowledge, competencies and the will to govern the complex and dynamic dimensions of risk. Most importantly, this leadership must possess the skill to build a “coalition of the willing” across different sectors and decision-making levels to continuously adapt and transform communities so that they may survive and thrive.  Leadership for resilience requires a system’s grasp of realities, both intellectual humility and generosity to work collaboratively, and a resolute but compassionate will to govern.

What happened to us during Quinta, Rolly, Ulysses and the Philippines’ long history of tropical cyclones must be assessed against this backdrop. The damage and loss we have witnessed and experienced must be viewed against past decisions that were made about where we build, how we build, and who gets to live, work, and die in all the places that are safe or those that are in harm’s way.

The human and development cost of disasters is why international agreements such as the Sendai Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Climate Agreement are reflected in our national policies and in the local executive and legislative agenda. Having committed to implement their goals, we cannot escape our past. The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction recently ranked the Philippines fourth in the world in terms of the human cost of disaster between 2000-2019. We stand just behind China, the United States, and India in terms of the occurrence of disasters and in terms of the number of people affected by them.

Storms, floods, earthquakes, and other geo-hazards are part and parcel of our country’s history, and they will be part of our future. Climate change will only serve to enhance extreme weather events and we must now also add biological, industrial, natural, and technological hazards to our registry of threats to resilient development. Taking all of these in light of the pandemic we are battling, perhaps a fourth question is now in order (with my apologies to the author): “Quo(vid) Vadis, Philippines?”.

In conclusion, allow this columnist to add. Quo Vadis indeed. Another task force on top of existing mechanisms does not augur well to where we ideally should be going – an effective “engineered system” as Toni pointed out – rather than adding another layer to the existing bureaucracy. Instead of distinct, but complementary systems working together to achieve resilience and response, what is likely to happen is a duplication of efforts and inefficient allocation of resources. The Executive and Legislative branches should buckle down and speed up the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience whose main task should be to implement effective risk governance that would minimize the consequences of such disasters and, therefore, avoid the tragedy and destruction that we are now witnessing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Public and private sectors Strengthen DRR partnerships amid COVID-19 pandemic

Multi-stakeholder resilience approach emphasized at the NRC Colloquium 2020

In photo: (1st row, L-R) Amb. Roberto R. Romulo, NRC Convenor and Chairman of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development; Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, NRC Co-chair for Government and Secretary of National Defense; Mr. Hans T. Sy, NRC Co-chair for the Private Sector and Co-chair of ARISE Philippines;  Ms. Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR; Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, NRC President; (2nd row, L-R) Dr. Rajib Shaw, Chair of the UN Global Science Technology Advisory Group (STAG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and Chair of the UN Asia Pacific Science Technology and Academia Advisory Group (APSTAAG); Usec. Marivel Sacendoncillo, NRC Vice-chair for Government and Undersecretary for Local Government of DILG;  Mr. Ernesto Garilao, NRC Vice-chair for CSOs/NGOs and Chairman and President of the Zuellig Family Foundation; Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, NRC Vice-chair for Scientific Organizations and Academe and Trustee of the Manila Observatory; Dr. Animesh Kumar, OIC and Deputy Chief of the UNDRR Regional Office for Asia and Pacific; (3rd row, L-R) Ms. Malu Erni, NRC Executive Director; Dir. Tecson John Lim of the Office of Civil Defense;  Governor Albert Garcia of the Province of Bataan;  Mayor Oscar Moreno of Cagayan de Oro City; Mayor Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City; (4th row, L-R)  Mayor Madelaine Alfelor of Iriga City;  Mayor Jaime Fresnedi of Muntinlupa City;  Mayor Nelson Legacion of Naga City;  Mayor Richard Gomez, DPA of Ormoc City;  Mayor Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City

COVID-19 has added new complexity and uncertainty to public-private partnerships in disaster risk. To counter its cascading impacts, there is an urgent need for evidence-informed local leadership that is reinforced by multi-stakeholder collaboration.

In response to COVID-19’s challenges and the year-round threats posed by other hazards, the National Resilience Council (NRC) held the virtual NRC Colloquium 2020 to highlight local governments’ efforts to achieve evidence-informed risk governance on 30 October. Designed to highlight accomplishments, challenges, and opportunities, local chief executives and their resilience champions shared how they effectively bridged the gap between science, policy, and practice in building local resilience in the Philippines.

The “Pathways and Milestones in Building Local Resilience,” virtual colloquium officially marked the transition of NRC’s eight local government partners under its Resilient Local Government Units Program from the Year 1 PREPARE Phase to the Year 2 ADAPT Phase. Among the partners are the local government units of Cagayan De Oro City, Muntinlupa City, Zamboanga City, Iloilo City, Naga City, Province of Bataan, Ormoc City, and Iriga City.

The colloquium allowed local chief executives to share their personal narratives and resilience journeys. Their designated resilience champions put the spotlight on the LGU’s technical reports and their achievements relative to the PREPARE Year Resilience Scorecard. Both revealed how leadership and governance training, stakeholder engagement in applying climate and disaster risk assessments, and the use of web-based spatial-temporal platforms informed their strategies, acts of leadership, and good practices. They outlined their roadmaps to adaptation and transformation based on their learnings and insights during this phase of the program.

NRC Convenor Ambassador Roberto Romulo, Chairman, Carlos P. Romulo Foundation; NRC Co-Chair for the Private Sector Mr. Hans Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee, SM Prime; and, NRC Co-Chair for Government Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Department of National Defense graced the event and delivered welcome messages to the attendees. 

Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative for the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction delivered the keynote and closing messages to the local government teams. Dr. Rajib Shaw, the Chairperson of UNDRR Science and Technology Advisory Group likewise shared guidance on how to advance evidence-based risk governance.

Usec. Mavel Sacendoncillo, Usec. Ricardo Jalad, Fr. Jose Villarin, and Prof. Ernesto Garilao delivered their reactions to the LGU’s presentations and offered their guidance.

In his welcome message, NRC Convenor Ambassador Roberto Romulo noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed complicated the task of dealing with disasters across all government levels. “If there is a lesson to be learned from the pandemic, it is that it has exposed in stark contrast the difference that good governance can make in successfully combatting the pandemic. So too can good and effective risk governance spell the difference in how countries successfully deal with the consequences of disasters,” said Amb. Romulo.

Meanwhile, NRC Co-Chair for the Private Sector Mr. Hans Sy of SM Prime commended the organization’s work in building a culture of prevention for resilience, noting that these efforts are one of a kind. “NRC has successfully shown us that building strategic private sector engagement and creating pathways for trans-disciplinary approaches are all possible. At the height of the pandemic, NRC had mounted impressive large-scale knowledge-sharing and training webinars featuring subject matter experts, both foreign and local. Those webinars reached hundreds of the populace, teaching, as well as expanding our minds,” said Mr. Sy.

He further honored the participating LGUs as well as their Local Chief Executives, for recognizing their DRR needs and welcoming the enhancement of their leadership and governance through and science and technology.

Ms. Mami Mizutori encouraged NRC and its LGU partners in her keynote address to continue their public-private partnerships to create strong and resilient communities. In closing, she also cited the NRC’s work as a global example of evidence-informed multi-stakeholder partnerships for disaster resilience.

“Disaster Risk governance is no longer a question of managing disasters or responding to the threats posed by a single hazard, we need a multi-hazard and multi-sectoral approach as advocated by the National Resilience Council and Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030). If done correctly, the success of good disaster risk governance can be measured in the numbers of lives saved and reduction in injury and loss of livelihood, as well as the survival; of critical infrastructure and reduced economical losses. I firmly believe that together, through combined efforts of the NRC and initiatives such as the MCR 2030, we can help expand the option of support in pathways to resilience available in the Philippines and the region so that no one is left behind, no cities left behind, and we can achieve a collective goal of resilient communities by 2030,” Ms. Mizutori conveyed.

The NRC 2020 Colloquium was organized by the NRC with support from the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., ARISE Philippines, Zuellig Family Foundation, San Miguel Corporation, Alliance Global Group, Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers Philippines – Isla Lipana & Co., Ateneo de Manila University, Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines: Investing in Climate and Disaster Resilience Project, and the Manila Observatory.

For more about the National Resilience Council, visit


Launch of Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)

Author: Jeanette Elsworth | Date: October 28, 2020

Core partners of Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) officially launched its second phase today, with a global programme to support cities on the road to resilience.

The launch took place during the Daring Cities conference convened by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), one of the core partners of the initiative and 1,048 people from 117 countries attended.

H.E. U. Khürelsükh, Prime Minister of Mongolia
  H.E. U. Khürelsükh, Prime Minister of Mongolia

H.E. U. Khürelsükh, Prime Minister of Mongolia, sent a video message to congratulate the Campaign on its success so far and to reconfirm Mongolia’s firm commitment to building resilient cities.

“During my tenure as Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, all 22 major cities in Mongolia joined the “Making Cities Resilient” UN Global Campaign in 2017, and I inform you that the Government of Mongolia has fulfilled its commitment to implement Target (e) of the Sendai Framework by 2020, and all our major cities have adopted [and] are implementing local DRR strategies as of today,” confirmed H.E. U. Khürelsükh.

“On behalf of the Government of Mongolia, I commend the successful implementation of the “Making Cities Resilient” United Nations Campaign. Through this campaign, I believe that we have been able to build better community disaster resilience and recognize an importance of local leadership in DRR.”

Speaking at the launch, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), said: “To achieve resilience, cities will have to address the underlying drivers of risk, which may include poverty, education, health, environmental degradation, among others. More than anything, a holistic and systems approach to resilience must be adopted by cities.  MCR2030 aims to provide a framework for this approach.”

The goal of MCR2030 is to ensure cities become inclusive, safe, resilient and Sustainable by 2030, contributing directly to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) and other global frameworks including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda.

Screenshot of speakers at the MCR2030 launch
Speakers at the MCR2030 launch which more than 1,000 people from 117 countries attended virtually

Throughout the launch, speakers and partners highlighted the importance of focusing on urban areas to ensure those goals were met.

Sameh Wabeh, Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice at the World Bank said: “We know that if we do nothing, about 130 million people will fall into poverty by 2030. Around 70 million of those are in urban areas.”

Tiziana Bonzon, Manager for Climate Migration and Resilience at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) praised the initiative for putting cities at the centre. “Let’s make cities the source of solutions, rather than the source of challenges,” said Ms. Bonson.

At the same time, Kozo Nagami, Director General at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recognised the value of resilience as a whole. “Disaster risk reduction is not a cost but an investment in sustainable development,” he said.

Co-created by partners and networks of cities, MCR2030 will offer cities a clear, three-stage resilience roadmap to assessing, planning and implementing risk reduction and resilience-building initiatives. The resilience roadmap will link cities within a peer-to-peer learning environment and communities of practice, supported by access to tools, technical specialists and advisers.

Implementation is focused on three key areas: giving advisory support for improved DRR and resilience planning, climate finance, municipal finance and climate adaptation;

improving coordination between national and local governments and national associations of local governments; and forging strong partnerships at the local level for more efficient implementation.

Recognising that access to finance is one of the biggest hurdles to reducing risk, MCR2030 will also provide a platform to help cities strengthen their ability to access funds and allow cities to find specialist service providers and investors for actions and initiatives. 

MCR2030 builds on the success of the ten-year-old Making Cities Resilient Campaign, which concludes at the end of 2020 and has more than 4,300 city signatories. MCR2030 will run from January 2021 to the end of 2030.

By 2050 most of the world’s population will be urban and cities will be the key setting for ensuring the inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable spaces for citizens. The resilience of cities will be key in accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals and associated global frameworks.

For more information, you may visit the MCR 2030 official webpage:

Launch of Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)


Climate, Resource Management, and Human Development: Community Resilience Initiatives in Asia 2020 Lecture Series

The Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines: Investing in Climate & Disaster Resilience (CCARPH) project, in partnership with the Ateneo de Manila University’s (ADMU) Department of Political Science, and Department of Sociology & Anthropology (DSA), the Nippon Foundation, and the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship program invite you to:

Climate, Resource Management, and Human Development: Community Resilience Initiatives in Asia 2020 Lecture Series


Webinar 1 (Oct 27, T)

9:00-10:00 AM (PST) Social Transformation and Grassroots Empowerment (STAGE): A Strategy for Promoting Island-Based Coastal Resources Management

Dr. Liza Lim
Director, Institute of Social Order (ISO)
With support from the ISO Community Organizers and the Siruma Women’s
Mangrove Management Group

Engr. Khim Saddi
Ateneo de Naga University, Naga City, Southern Philiippines

Webinar 2 (Oct 29, Th)

9:00-9:30 AM (PST) Condition of a Sustainable Coexistence Between People and Nature

Prof. Miwako Hosoda
Vice-President, Seisa University, Japan

9:30-10:00 AM (PST) The Caluruega-Philippine Experience: Mirroring Integrity of Creation and UN Sustainable Development Goals

Fr. Stephen Redillas OP, Ph.D.
University of Santo Tomas
Letran Manaoag

Prof. Raymundo Lucer, Ph.D.
University of the Philippines – Los Banos UPOU

10:00-10:30 AM (PST) Toward Integral Ecology Through Coexistential Ecology

Fr. Jojo Fung SJ, PhD
Laudato Si Center, Oxford Sacred Springs Dialogue for Spirituality and Sustainability, Loyola School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University

Webinar 3 (Nov 3, T)

9:00-9:15 AM (PST) Mainstreaming Marine Ecosystem Protection for a Climate-Resilient Community

Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos
Vice-President, Oceana, Philippines

9:15-9:30AM (PST) Build, Build, Build: Implications to Resource Management and Community Resilience

Prof. Maria Aurora T.W. Tabada,
Director, Gender Resource Center, Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte, Central Philippines

Merry Jean A. Caparas MSc Water Management & Governance UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Netherlands

Webinar 4 (Nov 4, W)

9:00-9:15 AM (PST) Blue Ridge B.R.E.A.T.H.S. (Blue Ridge Environmental and Agricultural Template for Health, Economy and Security)

Esperanza “Kap Sessan” Castro-Lee Blue Ridge Punong Barangay (Brgy Captain) Barangay Blue Ridge B, District 3, Quezon City, Philippines

9:15-9:30 AM (PST) Capturing Indigenous Perspectives in Ecosystems-Based Adaptation Inside Ancestral Domains

Maria Easterluna Luz S. Canoy (w/ Bae Inatlawan) Executive Director, Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, Inc. (KIN), Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

Webinar 5 (Nov 5, Th)

9:00-10:30 AM (PST) Mekong River Development Challenges and Responses with Chang Mai University, the International Organization of Rivers and Chulalongkorn University

Prof. Surichai Wun’gaeo,
Director for the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Prof. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti
Director for the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development and Center for Ethnic Studies and Development

Khun Pairin Sohsai The International Organization of Rivers

Prof. Pianporn Deetes
Campaigns Director for Myanmar and Thailand
The International Organization of Rivers

Online Class Lecture (Nov 6, F)

9:00-9:30 AM (PST) Social impacts of regional integration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Dr. Rosalia Sciortino SEA Junction, Bangkok, Thailand

Q & A

9:30-10:00 AM Disaster Risk Reduction and The Sustainable Development Goals

Jessica Dator-Bercilla University of the Philippines-Visayas National Resilience Council

Q & A

Online Class Lecture (Nov 10, Tue)

9:00-10:30 AM (PST) Essential Elements of City Resilience

Allen Jhulia Prodigalidad
Research Intern, CCARPH
Junior Physics Student, Ateneo de Manila

10:30-11:00 AM (PST) Community-Based Initiatives for Resilience in MDRR-CCARPH, Ateneo de Manila University

Dr. Emma Porio, Ma. Rufina Salas,
Vivien Clarisse Leynes

Coastal Cities at Risk Philippines

Manuel “Ka Noli” Acantara Abinales,
Buklod Tao Katatagan Inc.

Dr. Vincent “Doc Basil” Sison
Prescy Liza Labsan
Valenzuela City, Urban Greening Program and Disiplina Bignay, Integrated Community Food Production (ICFP)

Webinar (Nov 11, W)

9:00-9:15 AM (PST) Baon sa Pagbangon (Preparation for Adaptive Resilience): Resources for Community-Based Arts Engagement for Resilience and Sustainability

Clarissa Mijares
Program Manager, Office of University and Global Relations
Ateneo de Manila University

9:15-9:30 AM Community Based Arts as a Vehicle for Social Change and Enhancing Resilience Initiatives

Laura Cabochan,
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Fine Arts, Ateneo de Manila University

9:30-9:45 AM Omehen: The Garden as Chronicle and Strategy of Resistance

Alfred Marasigan Instructor, Department of Fine Arts, Ateneo de Manila University

Closing Plenary (Nov 12, TH)

9:00-9:15 AM Community Interventions for Environmental Resilience

Prof. Jan Marie Fritz, PhD University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Presidential Board Member, RC46: Clinical Sociology, International Sociological Association (ISA)

9:15-9:30 AMThe National Resilience Scorecards (Philippines)

Antonia Yulo Loyzaga President, National Resilience Council Board of Trustees Member, Manila Observatory


Dr. Emma Porio Project Leader and Investigator, Coastal Cities at Risk Philippines; Professor of Sociology Ateneo de Manila University


  • Green Line- Public Webinars, Livestreamed
  • Blueline – Online Class Lecture Only, Closed to the Public

This event will be streamed live on For more information, email: [email protected], or visit

[Full livestream] Watch the Countdown Global Launch, a call to action on climate change

An update from Mami Mizutori, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction — 16 September 2020

In the newsletter circulated by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori writes about Disaster Risk Governance. We must recognize that the greatest single driver of disaster risk is weak governance and lack of political commitment to invest in reducing disaster risk.

Disaster risk governance has been a constant refrain in my public statements for some months now and I informed the High-Level Panel on Sustainable Development in July that it would be the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13.

It is understandable that disaster management agencies often focus on individual hazards, particularly those which have caused most of the damage based on historical records. However, COVID-19 tells us that this approach must change. It is important that we manage disaster risk with a multi-hazard approach, and with a clear understanding of the systemic nature of risk.

That was a thought I shared at the first meeting of the UNDRR Support Group this year under the new Chair, His Excellency Ambassador Emilio Izquierdo of Ecuador, when we met in early September just days after we issued a press release confirming the theme for this year’s #DRRday.

October 13 is an important opportunity for UN member States, the UN family and other stakeholders to celebrate their efforts to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This year we are saying that “It really is all about governance” as we recognize that the greatest single driver of disaster risk is weak governance and lack of political commitment to invest in reducing disaster risk.

The reality is that if the benefits of investing in disaster risk reduction were fully realized, we would not be facing a global economic crisis. The world would have responded to the science and the warnings of a pending pandemic with greater international cooperation and the impact of COVID-19 would have been reduced.

This year’s #DRR day is especially significant as the five-year-old Sendai Seven Campaign seeks to raise the profile of the importance of Target (e) which seeks a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by the end of this year.

This translates into ensuring that we recognise how important it is that we act on a key priority for action of the Sendai Framework “strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk” as the UN and Member States embark on a Decade of Action intended to see significant progress on achieving the SDGs.

I urge all concerned to make the most of the day to organize events while respecting WHO COVID-19 guidelines and to consult the concept note now available on our website.


COVID-19 continues to grab most of the news headlines understandably. However, recent extreme weather events are a strong reminder that the climate emergency is ever present in a world that is currently on course for 3.2°C rise in temperature with little sign yet of a major commitment to deliver on net zero emissions from the world’s leading industrial nations.

Sudan has seen the Nile River reach its highest levels in 100 years and declared a state of emergency as heavy rainfall disrupts the lives of half a million people, destroying many homes. Back-to-back typhoons have taken many lives in Japan and Korea and caused huge economic losses. Record temperatures have helped to fuel vast wildfires in California.

These events underline why we must continue to closely monitor extreme weather events and ensure that we account for the economic losses they trigger in order to guide politicians and policymakers on where and how to make future investments in order to manage existing levels of risk and to avoid creating new risk.

UNDRR is working with the Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters on a new report on the human cost of disasters which will include a review of extreme weather events in the first twenty years of this century. It will be released on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, October 13 #DRRday.

We will also be publishing a guidance note on how to include biological hazards and risks (including pandemics) in national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction along with a Words into Action guide for public review on Nature Based Solutions for disaster risk reduction.


I would like to use this opportunity to promote the first in a series of four webinars which got underway on 15 September examining the case for risk informed investment as a critical element of macro-economic financial stability and the achievement of the SDGs. It will look at examples of where we can draw lessons from progress to date, identify the gaps and explore opportunities to address them. You can register through this link.

I spoke in in the first webinar along with Mr. Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors, Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen, Member of the European Parliament, and Mr. Felix Suntheim, Fiancial Sector Expert, IMF.

This series builds on a report on the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate action into sustainable financing published by UNDRR in 2019 in the European context, and accompanies the development of a new global study to identify concrete actions, evidence and tools to integrate multi-hazard and systemic risk approaches into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in support of more risk-informed investment and finance.


Following the success of the ARISE (Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies) Annual General Meeting in July, it was very encouraging to see the creation in September of the first national chapter of ARISE in the Arab region. This is an initiative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and I hope it will mark the beginning of a trend across the region to promote greater involvement of the private sector in the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Dr. Mahmoud Al-Burai, Vice-President of the International Real Estate Federation, was confirmed as Chair of UAE ARISE and he declared his intention to support the Dubai Resilient project and promised to energize the private sector to achieve the goals of the Sendai Framework. Co-chair is Mr. Ahmed Riad, Managing Director, Estmrarya Consulting, and the Vice Chari is Dr. Tariq Nizami, Founder and CEO of CEO Clubs Network.

Our Regional Office in Cairo has been working hard on this initiative which will be officially launched at the Fifth Arab Partnership Meeting for DRR scheduled for November.

I would like to extend my congratulations to all concerned and wish them every success in the implementation of their future work plan which is well aligned with the four global priorities adopted at the ARISE Annual General Meeting in July: Integrating DRR into financial sector decision making; building the resilience of SMEs; resilient infrastructure; and the role of insurance in disaster risk reduction and resilience.


This year is a pivotal year in many respects. It marks the start of the Decade of Action which the UN Secretary-General has called for in order to transform our world and make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality and to address challenges such as rising greenhouse gas emissions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

And very importantly for UNDRR’s mandate to support implementation of the Sendai Framework, 2020 is the deadline for achieving Target (e): “Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies” which is also a key advocacy focus for this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on October 13.

UNDRR Director Ricardo Mena provided a comprehensive overview of progress at the UNDRR Support Group meeting in September. Successes to date include the fact that 93 governments have developed national DRR strategies and there has been an increased effort to build synergies at national level in the implementation of the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. There is also an encouraging trend to integrate biological hazards into DRR strategies following reviews initiated as a result of COVID-19.

Mr. Mena also identified gaps and challenges including that COVID-19 is overstretching the capacity of national DRR organizations. The collection of DRR and climate change data remain a challenge, including disaggregation of data. There is also limited access to data particularly in conflict-affected countries.

Weak risk governance was also highlighted as an area of concern. The Sendai Framework advocates an all-of-society approach to DRR and in many countries there is a limited effort to engage civil society and to create awareness of the increasingly systemic nature of disaster risk and the linkages between DRR and the SDGs. Better guidance is needed on how to build coherence and integration at national and local levels.

I cannot say it too often! It really is all about governance.

I hope that we will continue to see growth in the number of both national and local strategies for DRR and greater alignment with the targets and priorities for action laid out in the Sendai Framework.

* * *


I hope that you will find this update useful and informative.
If you would like more information about UNDRR’s many activities, please do visit and please — stay safe and well.

Launch of the Hazard Definition & Classification Review – Technical Report

The International Science Council (ISC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) launched the Hazard Definition & Classification Review – Technical Report to identify the full scope of all hazards relevant to the Sendai Framework and the scientific definitions of these hazards.

You may download the report here:

You may find the recording of the launch below: