Disasters affect the well-being and safety of people, communities and countries, as a whole.  Globally, the most common hazardous events are road accidentsnatural disasters, and industrial injuries. Approximately 190 million people are directly affected annually by emergencies due to natural and technological hazards, with over 77 000 deaths. A further 172 million are affected by conflict (UNDRR). From 2012 to 2017, there were recorded more than 1200 out­breaks in 168 countries, including those due to new or re-emerging infectious diseases. In 2018, a further 352 infectious disease events, including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), were tracked by the World Health Organization.

All communities are at risk of emergencies and di­sasters, including those associated with natural disasters, infectious dis­ease outbreaks, conflicts, technological and other hazards.  Particularly in the context of increased urbanization and climate changefrequency, severity and impact of disasters are crucial. The health, economic, political and societal consequences of these events can be devastating for developed and developing countries. 

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recommend scaling up the implementation of holistic disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies and plans, as means to improve resilience to disasters globally (SDG 11.B). Reducing the impact of disasters is a top priority. 


With the objective of strengthening the capacities of governments and communities, in particular developing countries, for risk reduction and disaster management, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been working on two fronts:

  1. Providing advanced technologies and applications to reduce disaster impact by monitoring situations before, during and after disasters - while building resilience;
  2. Providing training opportunities for government officials in the most vulnerable regions facing disasters - Latin Americanthe Caribbean, and Asia-Pacific.

Social Development Programme

Capacity development is a vital strategy for implementing disaster management and risk reduction plans. UNITAR’s Social Development Programme (SDP) provides training opportunities to government officials at the local and national level, through:

1. Online Training Courses

In partnership with the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), SDP offers an array of online training courses, which strengthen the capacities of government officials, especially those at the local level, as well as disaster management professionals. These classes aid to design and implement plans and programmes that reduce disaster risk and enhance resilience.

2. Training Workshops

In partnership with academic institutions, governmentsinternational organizations and other UN agenciesSDP contributes to facilitate the exchange of best practices, experiences and approaches to better manage disasters.


    Resilience of Local Governments: A multi-sectoral approach to integrate public health and disaster risk management


    The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) along with its Global Education and Training Institute (GETI), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are offering this e-learning course to present the Public Health System Resilience Scorecard for Cities and the Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework as tools to integrate disaster risk management strategies and public health, while following a multi-sectoral approach.

    • Language: English
      To register, please click here.



    El Instituto de las Naciones Unidas para la Formación y la Investigación (UNITAR), la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas para la Reducción del Riesgo de Desastres (UNDRR), junto con su Instituto de Educación y Formación Global (GETI por sus siglas en inglés), y la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) ofrecen este curso de aprendizaje electrónico para presentar el “Cuadro de mando de la resiliencia ante desastres para ciudades” y el marco de gestión del riesgo de desastres y emergencias sanitarias, como herramientas para integrar las estrategias de gestión del riesgo de desastres y la salud pública, siguiendo un enfoque multisectorial.

    • Idioma: Español
      Para inscribirse, haga clic aquí.

    Making Cities Resilient: Developing Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Strategies


    Particularly in the context of increased urbanization, the urban risk continues to rise. The vulnerability of cities to disasters is growing especially as poor people settle in high-risk urban areas. Unfortunately, the planning and development of cities have given little consideration to the consequences of hazards such as earthquakes, hydro-meteorological risks, and others. The implication of this reality is the need for countries to focus on creating a safer world for urban dwellers and developing a series of innovative approaches to build resilience.

    On the basis of these needs, UNITAR in partnership with UNDRR has developed the e-learning course “Making Cities Resilient: Developing Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Strategies”.

    • Language: English
      Lessons are accessible (audio and sign language interpretation) for persons with some types of hearing and visual disabilities.
      2023 session: 20 March 2023.



    ​​​​​​En el contexto de la creciente urbanización, el riesgo urbano sigue aumentando. La vulnerabilidad de las ciudades a las catástrofes aumenta, especialmente a medida que las personas de bajos recursos se asientan en zonas urbanas de alto riesgo. Lamentablemente, la planificación y el desarrollo de las ciudades han tenido poco en cuenta las consecuencias de peligros tales como los terremotos, los riesgos hidrometeorológicos y otros. La consecuencia de esta realidad es la necesidad de que los países se centren en la creación de un mundo más seguro para los habitantes de las ciudades y en el desarrollo de una serie de enfoques innovadores para aumentar la resiliencia.

    • Idioma: Español
      Las lecciones son accesibles (interpretación de audio y lenguaje de señas) para personas con algunos tipos de discapacidades auditivas y visuales.
      Sesión de 2023: por ser anunciada en febrero de 2023.

    The CIFAL Global Network




    Through its global network of 29 training centres called the “CIFAL Global Network”, UNITAR offers training opportunities to develop more effective disaster response and preparedness strategies. One key objective of the CIFAL Centres is to encourage city-to-city collaboration and multi-stakeholder cooperation amongst governments. The CIFAL centres specialized on Disaster Management are listed below:



    CIFAL Durban

    Area of training:

    • Disaster Management Strategic Planning

    CIFAL Jeju

    Area of training:

    • Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 

    CIFAL Malaga

    Area of training:

    • Intervention, Emergency and Catastrophe Management 

    CIFAL Merida

    Area of training:

    • Hurricane Preparedness and Response Planning

    CIFAL Newcastle

    Area of training:

    • Government approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction
    • Private sector approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction


    For more information, please contact: or


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