UNESCO is the United Nations’ specialized agency for education, science and culture. Since its creation in 1945, the Organization has worked to promote knowledge and education worldwide. Its close links with professional and academic communities and other partners in 193 countries put it in a key position to press for action.

UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development, encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities.

UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

Disaster Reduction Goal

UNESCO supports Member States to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards and strengthen their capacity to cope with disasters by: providing expertise in the areas of establishing early warning systems; building capacity within line Ministries to ensure systems are prepared and able to respond; and network establishment / strengthening in DRR work.

Policies and Programmes in DRR

In its 34th session, the General Conference of UNESCO included contributing to disaster mitigation and preparedness among the fourteen Strategic Programme Objectives in the Organization’s Medium Term Strategy for 2008-2013. Since 2008 the biennial programmes of UNESCO contain a specific main line of actions on DRR.

UNESCO provides intergovernmental coordination, advice to governments and policy support for the establishment and operation of monitoring networks and early warning and risk mitigation systems for natural hazards, with particular emphasis on earthquakes, tsunamis, coastal hazards, floods and landslides.

It also promotes joint multi-stakeholder strategies for enhancing disaster education and awareness as an intrinsic element of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UN DESD) led by UNESCO, especially in communities at risk located in Africa, LDCs and SIDS.

Integrated approaches and synergies between the natural sciences, the social sciences, culture, education and information systems lay the basis for interdisciplinary platforms to manage disaster risks.