Five Mauritanian cities have successfully completed disaster risk resilience assessments as per the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), an UN-endorsed agreement that tackles poverty, health, and enhances urban resilience.

The framework, which is the successor of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, is a 15-year, non-binding agreement, that encourages governments and the private sector to ensure the economic, physical, social, cultural, and environmental well-being of citizens.

In addition to four priorities of action, the Sendai Framework has seven global targets that countries that adopt the framework are expected to achieve to improve urban resilience. The targets call for the reduction of global disaster mortality, disaster-caused economic loss, and damage to infrastructure and critical services caused by disasters.

The targets also call for increasing the availability of multi-hazard early warning systems and better cooperation between developed and developing countries to augment urban resilience in cities.

Mauritania’s success is part of a project spearheaded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), with support from the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security. The project focuses on helping Mauritanian and Tunisian cities to become more resilient and to foster a safer environment for urban residents.

“Enhancing the resilience and capacities of local governments to natural hazards through the implementation of people-centered disaster risk reduction action plans,” said Ms. Mehrnaz Mostafavi, Chief of the UN’s Human Security Unit. She added that it “will help communities overcome not only disasters but health, food, environmental and economic insecurities as well.”

The project working to enforce the Sendai Framework will run from 2017 to 2019 in both Mauritania and Tunisia. The cities that will see the enforcement of the framework are Boghe, Kaedi, Tevergh Zeina, Rosso, and Tintane in Mauritania as well as Bousalem, Gabes, Kasserine, Mateur, and Siliana in Tunisia.

In 2015, Ain Darham in Tunisia was the first North African city to join the UNSIDR’s Making Cities Resilient campaign. The move came after devastating snowstorms and landslides in 2012, which killed and injured dozens, as well as destroyed infrastructure in the city, pointing to the necessity of improving Ain Darham’s urban resilience.

Last year in Cancun, Mexico, UNISDR developed an urban resilience tookit as per the Sendai Framework. The toolkit included an updated Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities, providing a set of assessments that will allow local governments to monitor and review progress and challenges in the implementation of framework.