On an ordinary morning in January 1995, the city of Kobe, Japan shook for less than a minute. By the time the tremors subsided, one of the most powerful earthquakes in recent history had already destroyed bridges, expressways and buildings, and within several hours, claimed over 6,400 lives. The quake’s magnitude and the fact that it occurred in close proximity to a highly populous urban center were a deadly combination.
Twenty years later, the international community is meeting in Sendai, a region that has witnessed disasters including Kobe and, more recently, the Fukushima earthquake-nuclear catastrophe, whose after-effects continue to this day. At the third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), they will deliberate on a new intergovernmental framework for disaster risk reduction for the next decade – and a new roadmap for building resilience.
For the past eight years, The Rockefeller Foundation has spearheaded the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), an initiative to strengthen the capacity of over 40 cities across Asia to prepare for a range of impacts resulting from climate change and urbanization. We believe that this work offers an important base of experience that can inform the next global disaster agenda, and enrich discussion in Sendai and beyond.
Here are five things we shouldn’t forget for Sendai:…