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13 October 2011 – The International Day for Disaster Reduction was marked at a special event organized at Europe’s House by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Georgia, UNDP, European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN).
The event was attended by Deputy Minister of Education and Science Nodar Surguladze, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia, Jamie McGoldrick, and UNICEF Representative in Georgia, Roeland Monasch.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction is an annual event organized every year on October 13th to raise awareness about what can be donw to reduce risks of disasters such as earthquakes, floods, wind storms, etc. This year’s spotlight was on promoting partnerships with children and youth.
The primary emphasis during the event was placed on presenting the key achievements made in the education sector of Georgia in ensuring the safety and resilience of children and communities towards disasters. The major achievements include: incorporation of disaster risk reduction in the National Curriculum, introduction of the Civil Protection and Safety subject and the Head of Class Hour Program for grades V-IX, development of the first time ever national educational web-portal on disaster risk reduction for all target groups and piloting of disaster preparedness activities at the school level.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction has also been marked with the declaration of the International Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction – an action plan for disaster reduction by children, for children. This way, Georgian youth have joined their peers around the globe to encourage adults to make a “Step Up” for disaster risk reduction. The following are the five priorities of the Children’s Charter: Schools must be safe - education must be uninterrupted; child protection must be a priority, before, during and after a disaster; children and young people have the right to participate and to access the information they need; community infrastructure must be safe, and relief and reconstruction must help reduce future disaster risk; disaster risk reduction must reach the most vulnerable.
The Charter is based on feedback from more than 600 children in 21 countries who identified education, child protection, and access to basic information as the main needs to reduce the devastating impact of disasters and climate change upon their families and communities.