KABUL, Afghanistan, 16 April 2013
Five Afghan cities have joined the Making Cities Resilient Campaign hosted by the Kabul Municipality and Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), in coordination with UN-Habitat and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction UNISDR.
On the occasion of the visit to Afghanistan by Ms. Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNISDR, the campaign on "Making Cities Resilient" was launched with the aim of strengthening the partnership between the Government, the United Nations and the people of Afghanistan. The cities that joined the campaign are Jalalabad City in Nangarhar Province, Charikar City in Parwan Province, Nili City in Daikundi Province, Pul-e Alam in Logar Province and Maidan Shar City in Wardak Province.
Ms. Wahlström congratulated the mayor of Kabul, ANDMA (Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority), and the IDLG (Independent Directorate for Local Governance), and stated, "The campaign is not only about what cities would like to do to improve, it is also about offering and sharing learning and expertise with other cities. Rapid and unplanned urbanization is increasing vulnerabilities to disasters. When overlapped with large-scale population movements – whether to escape conflict or in search of a better future for themselves and their families – it poses problems that are difficult to manage without planning."
The Director of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, Dr. Daim Kakar said, "I am happy to learn that UNISDR and UN-Habitat have introduced this initiative and we are very hopeful to expand it to all cities with close cooperation of the local governments. Being the coordinating body for disaster management we extend our full support to all the partners and local governments."
"We want to take action – step by step – towards improving infrastructure and mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and disaster response during the campaign and beyond 2015", the Directorate General for Municipal Affairs, Mr. Abdul Baqi Popal said.
The Senior Human Settlements Officer of UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Srinivasa Popuri recalled the famous quote by John F. Kennedy, "There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."
Since 1992 UN-Habitat has been working with communities across Afghanistan placing people at the centre of decision-making and action. This approach, the People's Process, makes the people more responsive and self-reliant, promotes their dignity, pride and sense of ownership, and helps build peace and social cohesion. UN-Habitat is, in addition, working very closely with the municipalities through strengthening institutional capacity and practicing good governance.