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Celebration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in Georgia

Bringing together children and youth to reduce disaster risks

TBILISI, Georgia, 13 October 2011 – International Day for Disaster Reduction was marked at a special event organized at Europe’s House by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Georgia, UNDP, European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN).

The International Day for Disaster Reduction is an annual event organized every year on October 13th to raise awareness about what we all can do to reduce risks of disasters like earthquakes, floods, wind storms, etc. This year’s spotlight is on promoting partnerships with children and youth.

The primary emphasis during the event was placed on presenting the key achievements made in the education sector of Georgia in ensuring the safety and resilience of children and communities towards disasters. 

The major achievements include: incorporation of disaster risk reduction in the National Curriculum, introduction of the Civil Protection and Safety subject and the Head of Class Hour Program for grades V-IX, development of the first time ever national educational web-portal on disaster risk reduction for all target groups and piloting of disaster preparedness activities at the school level.

“We cannot stop natural phenomena from happening. But they can become less damaging if children understand why disasters happen and know how to prevent them”, said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Children and youth have an active and important role to play in making communities aware of the need for disaster risk reduction. For this reason, UNICEF has assisted the Government of Georgia to incorporate disaster risk reduction in the national school curriculum which puts Georgia on the map with only few countries in the world that have such practice.”

“Disaster risk reduction needs to be acknowledged and incorporated as a key element of development work”, said Jamie McGoldrick, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia “Making our lives safer from disasters is everyone’s responsibility. With better planning, better building and construction norms, better communication, preparedness and response, natural events will take place but people could be safe from harm. If there are no losses – there is no disaster, and it is only a natural event.”

The International Day for Disaster Reduction has also been marked with launching of the International Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction – an action plan for disaster reduction by children for children. This way, Georgian young people have joined their peers around the globe to encourage adults to make a “Step Up” for disaster risk reduction. 

The following are the five priorities of the Children’s Charter:

  1. Schools must be safe - education must be uninterrupted;
  2. Child protection must be a priority, before, during and after a disaster;
  3. Children and young people have the right to participate and to access the information they  need;
  4. Community infrastructure must be safe, and relief and reconstruction must help reduce future disaster risk;
  5. Disaster risk reduction must reach the most vulnerable.

The Charter is based on feedback from more than 600 children in 21 countries who identified education, child protection and access to basic information as the main needs to reduce the devastating impact of disasters and climate change upon their families and communities.

For further information, please contact:

Maya Kurtsikidze
Communication Officer
UNICEF Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 23 23 88, 25 11 30
Mob: (995 99) 53 30 71
Email: mkurtsikidze@unicef.org
Website: www.unicef.org/georgia

 

 
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