The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the UN Volunteers (UNV) ran a fullday workshop for myself and a dozen other young people involved in disaster management on Mobilizing Youth Volunteerism for Disaster Risk Reduction. This workshop was designed to bring together interested youth to explore new and strengthen existing partnership between young people and stakeholders, discuss increasing acknowledgment of young volunteers in DRR, and provide a space to create innovative ideas.
I really enjoyed meeting people involved in disaster response from Tonga and Fiji and talking to the UNISDR staff. The UNISDR and UNV representatives were very motivated to empower young people to develop and implement DRR projects within the Pacific region.
In discussing current work addressing disasters in the pacific, it seems as though most initiatives are targeted at disaster response, not disaster risk reduction. Both Fiji and Tonga have strong training in place for disaster response, and are able to tap into existing youth council networks to train young leaders. An often-quoted figure is that for every $1 invested in disaster risk reduction, $7 of disaster response is saved, so it would be great to see some disaster risk reduction projects take shape.
As action points from this workshop we discussed increasing access for young people to attend conferences such as these, and working to increase disaster preparedness by educating youth and children, both areas that I am quite passionate about, so I am really looking forward to what will develop from this session.
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