UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction

United Nations
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

In response to the acute rise in natural disasters worldwide, the United Nations adopted the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) to build on the vital work of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction 1990-99.


Recognising that natural hazards can threaten any one of us, the ISDR builds on partnerships and takes a global approach to disaster reduction, seeking to involve every individual and every community towards the goals of reducing the loss of lives, the socio-economic setbacks and the environmental damages caused by natural hazards. In order to achieve these goals, the ISDR promotes four objectives as tools towards reaching disaster reduction for all:

Increase public awareness to understand risk, vulnerability and disaster reduction globally

The more people, regional organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, United Nations entities, representatives of civil society and others know about risk, vulnerability and how to manage the impacts of natural hazards, the more disaster reduction measures will be implemented in all sectors of society. Prevention begins with information.

Obtain commitment from public authorities to implement disaster reduction policies and actions

The more decision-makers at all levels commit themselves to disaster reduction policies and actions, the sooner communities vulnerable to natural disasters will benefit from applied disaster reduction policies and actions. This requires, in part, a grassroots approach whereby communities at risk are fully informed and participate in risk management initiatives.

Stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectoral partnerships, including the expansion of risk reduction networks

The more entities active in disaster reduction share information on their research and practices, the more useful the global body of knowledge and experience will progress. By sharing a common purpose and through collaborative efforts we can ensure a world that is more resilient to the impact of natural hazards.

Improve scientific knowledge about disaster reduction

The more we know about the causes and consequences of natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters on societies, the more we are able to be better prepared to reduce risks. Bringing the scientific community and policy makers together allows them to contribute to and complement each other's work. 


The ISDR combines the strengths of many key players through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction (IATF/DR) and Inter-Agency Secretariat of the ISDR (UN/ISDR).

The IATF/DR is the principal body for the development of disaster reduction policy. It is headed by the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and consists of 25 UN, international, regional and civil society organizations. It meets twice a year in Geneva, Switzerland. Working Groups reporting to the IATF/DR bring together specialists and organisations to discuss issues of common and global relevance to disaster reduction such as climate variability, early warning, vulnerability and risk analysis, wildland fires and drought. 

The UN/ISDR is the focal point in the UN System to promote links and synergies between, and the coordination of, disaster reduction activities in the socio-economic, humanitarian and development fields, as well as to support policy integration. It serves as an international information clearinghouse on disaster reduction, developing awareness campaigns and producing articles, journals, and other publications and promotional materials related to disaster reduction. The UN/ISDR headquarters is based at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It conducts outreach programmes through its regional units in Costa Rica and Kenya.

For further information regarding the ISDR and its activities, please contact:
UN/ISDR - Palais des Nations, CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland 
Tel: (+41 22) 917 27 62 Fax: (+41 22) 917 05 63 

Contact Information in Japan:
Cabinet Office, the Japanese Government
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914, Japan
Tel: +81-3-3501-6996  Fax: +81-3-3581-8933