10 October 2001


International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction,
10 October

NEW YORK, 9 October (UN Headquarters) -- Every year, on the second Wednesday of October, the international community celebrates the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction through global events to draw attention to measures which can be taken to reduce the negative impacts of natural disasters on vulnerable communities before disaster strikes.

This year’s observance will take place worldwide on 10 October, on the theme "Countering disasters; targeting vulnerability". Along the lines of this theme, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, in conjunction with the United Nations secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction is preparing an expert group meeting on "Environmental management and the mitigation of natural disasters: a gender perspective". In the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995), natural disasters and their impact on women were identified as an emerging issue which deserved greater attention. The meeting will analyse "women as part of the solution" rather than women’s vulnerabilities to disaster, focusing on positive aspects, experiences and characteristics that reduce women’s vulnerability, promote gender equality and provide solutions to global problems. The role of women as key environmental managers and key actors in natural disaster management are primary issues which will be explored.

In preparation for the meeting, an online discussion on "gender equality, environmental management, and natural disaster mitigation" is running from 24 September to 2 November 2001 (http://esaconf.un.org:80/~gas1). Findings and conclusions will be considered by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (New York, March 2002), and become a possible contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002). The expert group meeting is being hosted by the Government of Turkey in Ankara and will take place from 6 to 9 November 2001.

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