One of the goals of the United Nations is to increase the resilience of the member countries to face the impact of all disasters. The success comes from the strong bond among the countries and the communities at large. The United Nations is working on strengthening the bonds to ensure that all the nations remain united and collaborative. It has adopted an innovative approach that harnesses the capabilities and the knowledge of the partnership in developing resilience to harmful events. The global leaders have developed the framework that guides and coordinates the effort to achieve the resilience during emergencies. They have put emphasis on developing measures to address the issues such as poverty, climate change, inequality, and unsustainable land use as a way of improving the livelihood of people. The member countries have also come together with a lot of focus on the infrastructure in urban and rural centers, environment among other main areas that are susceptible to disaster. The paper focuses on the initiatives of the United Nations on improving the disaster resilience of the countries and the obstacles towards achieving it.
Initiatives and Obstacles
- Disaster Risk Reduction
It refers to the measures taken to reduce the damage caused by the natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and droughts among others. Most countries remain vulnerable to disaster and, therefore, enhancing resilience is one of the priorities of the United Nations. It supports the member countries to prepare for emergencies by implementing national Disaster Risk Management and longer term recovery for sustainable development. Some of the key issues addressed are awareness, capacity building and training, land use management and evacuation. Capacity building and training have developed and sponsored the community radi that trains the community on the early warning system, First Aid and emergency response. (Mitchell and Wilkinson, 2012). Furthermore, the volunteers have conducted training in schools to teach the students on how to react to the disaster. They have emphasized on evacuation, staying warm during the cold season, life savings, and First Aid skills. The Risk reduction measures have reduced the loss of life, minimized livelihood disruption as well as improved the resilience of the infrastructure in the United States of America. According to the evaluation conducted after Hurricane Katrina, some structures withstood harsh conditions, thus, reducing the direct losses. Also, the emergency agencies rescued about 34,000 people in New Orleans. However, there are obstacles associated with this initiative. Lack of good coordination between various agencies is the key challenge associated with it. The research conducted in Bangladesh during the disaster shows that some of the vulnerable areas were not given better attention. Some of these regions were easy to access and have high visibility than the other making them more preferable. The economic condition of the countries also plays the part in the Disaster Risk Reduction. It determines the amount of the government budget and the aid spent on it. The poorest nations are the most vulnerable to the disasters and the ability to recover is limited. (Khan and Moench, 2012).
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(b) Climate Change Adaptation
It refers to adapting to the extreme effects of the climate change and taking measures to minimize their damage. The United Nations has integrated issues of the same to ensure that the community remains resilient by adopting measures that enhance sustainable development. These measures include protection of estuaries from the unfavorable climatic conditions, treatment of the waste water as the result oof the rise in sea level and development of the wave response. It has set up the climate change fund to embark on the projects that include climate change adaptation, both at the legislative and the policy levels. It has also addressed the risk of flood, mudflows, and landslides in the communities living in the mountain regions. Apart from that, it has trained and empowered the same in water and flood management. The goal is to ensure the institutions are capable of applying the climate management practices for flood mitigation. The USA has benefited greatly from the climate adaptation initiative. It has been in a position to implement the adaptive measures to protect the infrastructures, monitor the rise in sea level and increase the resilience of the people during extreme weather conditions. The implementation of the climate adaptation is still problematic. Most of the developed countries do not consider the initiative and, therefore, lack the political willingness to support it. The decision makers rarely mention it. For example, Members of the National Parliament of Switzerland unanimously rejected the article of the law which was meant to pass the implementation of it.
Conclusively, the United Nations has contributed immensely to ensuring the countries remain committed to disaster resilience. The requirements to reduce the harmful losses have led to important achievements such as reduction in the number of victims affected by disasters and improvement of their livelihood. While such achievements are encouraging, there is a concern that improper land use management, environmental degradation, poverty, and poor governance are still challenges to the development. Furthermore, the occurrence of tragedies and the use of huge resources in disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation justify the need for appropriate action.