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Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day for Disaster Reduction

13 October

Disasters induced by natural and technological hazards affect millions of people every year worldwide, but much of their impact can be reduced through pro-active measures and planning. The International Day for Disaster Reduction, held each year on 13 October,  celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters.
UNESCO is engaged in the conceptual shift in thinking away from post-disaster reaction and towards pre-disaster action and helps countries build their capacities in managing disaster and climate risk.

This year, the International Day for Disaster Reduction focuses on “Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk”, calling upon Target E of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2039 that measures the number of countries and local actors that have DRR strategies in place, aiming to “substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020”.

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate disaster risk, countries that design policy and legislative frameworks and that prepare their institutions in line with the goal, targets and priorities for action of the Sendai Framework, have greater capacity to manage disaster risk and therefore to reduce the impact of disasters when they occur. However, a successful strategy for disaster risk reduction is complex and requires effective multistakeholder coordination mechanisms, an overarching national policy, transdisciplinary and multisector collaboration and input, amongst other requisites.

With that in mind, and maintaining the focus of the Day on the impact disasters have on communities, individuals and infrastructures, deeply affecting their wellbeing, this year’s theme is focused on conveying the message that many disasters can be avoided or prevented if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place to manage and reduce existing levels of risk and to avoid the creation of new risk. In short, “good disaster risk governance.”

Join the conversation with the hashtags  #ItsAllAboutGovernance #DRRday and check below what UNESCO has organized for the Celebration of this day!

You can also celebrate by visiting a UNESCO Global Geopark near you! Many UNESCO Global Geoparks are organizing events.



"The mitigation of devastation caused by disasters is therefore a global issue that determines the future, not only of our economies and environmental heritage, but also of humanity. Let us join forces in this fight – there is no time to lose."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Reduction

UNESCO Global Geoparks celebrate the 2020 International Day for Disaster Reduction

Raising awareness to strengthen communities’ resilience:

UNESCO Global Geoparks are forming a network of 161 territories all over the globe, that are located in various geographical settings that may be partly or entirely exposed to various natural hazards and extreme weather events. In recent years, natural hazards have already caused extensive damage to several UNESCO Global Geoparks. In addition, climate change seems to affect both the occurrence and intensity of various hydro-meteorological hazards.  

Many UNESCO Global Geoparks have already set as a top priority the reduction of naturally induced disasters and the protection of citizens and infrastructure, having implemented certain projects and developed concrete infrastructure and activities to raise awareness and mitigate risks. Existing knowledge of indigenous communities helps UGGps to develop good practices and initiatives to overpass crises and become more resilient. 

UNESCO Global Geoparks recognize the important role of training and awareness-raising actions, as well as of the existence and implementation of adequate risk management plans. 
UNESCO Global Geoparks are engaged in Disaster Risk Reduction on a daily basis and are very active in the promotion of the resilience concept. Many of these designated sites are celebrating the International Day for Disaster Reduction day as an opportunity to raise awareness and empower their local communities. 

You can also celebrate by visiting a UNESCO Global Geopark near you!

Watch this space for updates on events in your geoparks.

Photo: © UNESCO / Colca y Volcanes de Andagua UNESCO Global Geopark

France | Germany | Greece | Iceland | Italy | Japan | Portugal | Spain

MASSIF DE BAUGES UNESCO Global Geopark (France)

event title: Natural hazards: what is the risk in the Bauges?

dates: 13th October 2020, 8 p.m.

place: Maison du Parc Le Châtelard

type of Activity: conference

target group: general public

short description: an intervention to better know the exposure to the natural hazards in our Geopark.


Harz . Braunschweiger Land . Ostfalen UNESCO Global Geopark (Germany)

event title: “Integrated river management Nördliches Harzvorland” – Flood protection Oker

dates: ongoing pilot project of the state of Lower Saxony

place: Lower Saxony, Northern Harz Foreland

type of activity: common project with different institutions

target group: general public

short description: care of about 900 river kilometer (Oker, Innerste and side waters) regarding flood protection, nature protection, sustainable tourism, settlement development and agriculture.



event title: Landslides: A common natural hazard for Chelmos – Vouraikos Geopark with a long history

date: 13th October 2020

place: Kalavryta

type of activity: short video and facebook event

target group: Geopark’s Facebook followers

short description: we will produce a short video where Geology experts from the Geology Department of the University of Patras will describe the landslides, the mechanism that causes them, will present active landslides and how they are monitored and studied, information about landslide risk reduction, and will present the story of the Tsivlos Lake Geosite which was formed after a big landslide event 100 years ago.  The video will be uploaded on the 13/10 and a facebook event will follow. Followers will have the chance to ask the Geology experts questions about landslides and particularly about the landslides in the Chelmos – Vouraikos UNESCO Global Geopark.


LESVOS ISLAND UNESCO Global Geopark (Greece)

event title: Geoparks and Geohazard Risk Reduction

dates: 12th - 30th October 2020

place: (a) digital; (b) Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

type of activity: (a) Webinar; (b) Experiential educational program and simulation of major earthquakes at the earthquake simulator; (b) Experiential educational program and simulation of tsunami generation

target group: (a) School teachers; (b)School students

short description: the Lesvos Island UNESCO Global Geopark on the occasion of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction will launch educational activities for school students and teachers.

On 13th October 2020 the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest (Lesvos Island UGGp) in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Crete (Psiloritis UGGp) will coorganise the webinar for school teachers entitled „Geoparks and Geohazard Risk Reduction“.

The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest from 12th to 30th October 2020 will implement for school students the experiential educational program “Natural processes in our Planet. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the earthquakes“. During the educational program will be organized the experiential educational activity of simulating large and destructive earthquakes in the earthquake simulator of the Museum and the implementation of the protection measures. The Museum will also organise the educational programme “Simulation of tsunami generation”. Children and teachers will have the opportunity to investigate the tsunami generation process and find out the protection measures.


PSILORITIS UNESCO Global Geopark (Greece)

event title: Webinar on Resilience under RURITAGE project

dates: 9th October, 2020

place: web

type of activity: webinar/public participation

target group: local communities – Local Authorities‘ staff

short description: the Psiloritis UGGp as a partner and Role Model on Resilience in RURITAGE, Horizon 2020 project, will participate in a public Webinar organized by UNESCO for the general public to present resilience actions and tools of the geopark.


SITIA UNESCO Global Geopark (Greece)

event title: Natural disasters and prepare the response of the citizens

date: 14th October, 2020

place: Cultural Center of the Sitia Municipality

type of activity: presentations/public participation

target group: local community - institutions - schools

short description: analytical presentation of the plan of treatment of natural disasters and the role of the citizens to crisis management


VIKOS AOOS UNESCO Global Geopark (Greece)

event title: Old stone arched bridges against the natural disasters

date: 6th-9th October, 2020

place: Voidomatis river and Vikos gorge

type of activity: walking along the paths – connecting old stone arched bridges

target group: school teachers and local residents

short description: in the Vikos - Aoos UGGp there are several old stone arched bridges as a result of the intense relief and the diverse division of the hydrographic network. These bridges are architectural monuments of exceptional aesthetics and are part of the cultural identity of the area. However, the action of catastrophic processes (earthquakes, floods, landslides), but in some cases human intervention, result in the destruction of these monuments.

There is an ongoing research project carried out by the Geological Authority of Greece, which records and describes the stone bridges that have been affected and endangered by the ongoing action of catastrophic phenomena. This project will describe the foundation conditions and factors that affect the bridges from a technical-geological point of view.

The aim is to make a classification of the risk due to geological factors in order to have a timely diagnosis and forecast as well as the appropriate restoration planning by the relative authorities.

On the occasion of International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction, an attempt is made to inform and raise the awareness of the citizens as regards the geological hazards and their effect on human works as well as possible actions for the protection of these beautiful stone arched bridges.


Katla UNESCO Global Geopark and Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark (Iceland)

event title: Introduction to the catalogue of Icelandic volcanoes (in Icelandic)

date: 13th October, 2020

place: online event

type of activity: educational presentation from experts at the Meteorological Office. Streamed online

target group: the presentation is aimed at students, around 14-16 years of age, but the event will be open and advertised for the public

short description: the Geoparks in Iceland, Katla UGGp and Reykjanes UGGp, have decided to join forces to celebrate the International day on disaster risk reduction with an educational event presented by the Meteorological office in Iceland. Students in the 8-10th grade and their teachers will be introduced to the Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes which has recently been published online in Icelandic by the Geohazard department of the Meteorological Office of Iceland.

Both Geoparks are situated in active volcanic regions, although different in nature. Katla UGG is situated on the young Eastern Volcanic Zone where many of Iceland´s largest and most dangerous volcanoes reside under glaciers and ice sheets. During subglacial eruptions, huge outburst floods and ashfall usually occur, posing a constant threat to civilization. The largest and most dangerous volcano is Katla, but other volcanoes in the Geopark have started to show signs of unrest also.

Spreading episodes are common in the Reykjanes UGG as the mid-Atlantic ridge surfaces on the Reykjanes peninsula. The area is characterised by fissures, shield volcanoes and geothermal activity as the area is also quite young on a geological time-scale. Recent uplift, close to the famous Blue Lagoon, hints at increasing activity in the near future and the likelihood of a possible volcanic eruption. Numerous large earthquakes have caused alarm within the nearby communities, and a much-need for understanding the cause and nature of these episodes

A great way to gain an understanding of these forces at work is to have a look into the volcanic and geological history of each area. Understanding the past is key to preparing for the future, reducing risk and preventing disaster. The information presented in the online Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes is  filled with information to aid in this sense.


Rinjani-Lombok Unesco Global Geopark (Indonesia)


event title:  Geopark goes to School


dates: 9 /10 October, 2020

place: three high scho

type of activity: workshops

target group: students

short description: interactive discussion about geopark, disaster and zero waste


APUAN ALPS UNESCO Global Geopark (Italy)

event title: Learning from the past on seismic risk reduction

dates: 13th October, 2020

place: Geopark visitor centre in Seravezza and GoToMeeting platform

type of activity: conference

target group: local community, Geoparks Guides, stakeholders, students and teachers

short description: the Apuan Alps UNESCO Global Geopark, in collaboration with the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, organizes a conference aimed to spread knowledge about the earthquake that affected its area hundred years ago with the main goal to inform, raise awareness and prepare people for a more effective response during the extreme events.


event title: Search of missing people in rough mountain areas

dates: 18th October, 2020

place: Gabellaccia, Carrara

type of activity: technical drill of recovery

target group: local community

short description: the Apuan Alps UNESCO Global Geopark organizes in collaboration with National Alpine and Cave Rescue Service an educational program with a practical lesson and a technical drill of recovery. The main aim of the activity is to raise awareness, to inform and prepare people for a more effective response during the extreme events.


BEIGUA UNESCO Global Geopark (Italy)

event title: the Game of disaster-risk

dates: 10th October, 2020

place: House of the Park, Sassello

type of activity: educational activity for children

target group: children (6-11 years old)

short description: Junior Geoparkers are celebrating the  International Day of Disaster Reduction Risk becoming geologists to learn how to behave correctly in case of floods, landslides, wildfires and earthquakes. An educational game to learn about the natural hazards of our territory.



event title: Know the natural hazards

dates: 13th October 2020

place: Facebook

type of Activity: dissemination

target group: young people

short description: the event includes a message on facebook that talks about the problems related to geo-risks and climate change. The aim of this message is to sensitize the younger generations to respect for natural resources


MADONIE UNESCO Global Geopark (Italy)

event title: Georisks and safety fruition of the Geo-resources

dates: 10th October, 2020

place: Palazzo Pucci Martinez Petralia Sottana (Palermo)

type of activity: workshop with geologists (Regional Order of Geologists), members of the Public Administration and sector workers.

target group: citizens and stakeholders (Associations, touristic guides, local workers, etc.)

short description: meeting about knowledge of the most representatives and frequented geosites with the presence of geologists and experts. Presentation of the communication and information activities, under the responsibility of the managing offices, for a safety fruition of risk areas with dangerous level P.3 and P.4 in accordance with the Sicilian hydrogeological plan


POLLINO UNESCO Global Geopark (Italy)

event title: Know the fire risk

dates: 13th October, 2020

place: Geopark headquarters

type of activity: dissemination

target group: operators in the forest fire sector

short description: the event includes a meeting in which we explane the results of the forest fire prevention plan


Muroto UNESCO Global Geopark (Japan)

event title: Workshop on Evacuation-Center Management

dates: 13th October, 2020

place: Geopark headquarters

type of activity: workshops, research, tours

target group: all the population

short description: DRR related activities to build knowledge and strengthen decision-making


Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark (Japan)

event title: History and Experiences tell us how to settle in our hometown

dates: 13th October, 2020

place: Geopark headquarters and museum

type of activity: workshops and tours

target group: all the population and students

short description: learn how these volcanic disasters occurred and how local people has restored their hometown from them.


AZORES UNESCO Global Geopark (Portugal)

Event title: Disaster Risk Reduction in Azores

Date: from 11th to 17th October, 2020

Place: Envioronmental Interpretation Centre of Boqueirão- Flores Island

Type of activity: presentation

Target group: all the population

Short description: presentation with information about types of natural disasters that occurred in the Azores (including Flores Island particular case), and some measures to minimize risks.


Event title: CO2 Emissions at “Furna do Enxofre” cave

Date: from 13th October, 2020

Place: Furna do Enxofre Visitor Centre - Graciosa Island

Type of activity: guided tour

Target group: all the population

Short description: guided tours using a querry, to raise awareness of the visitors to the risks associated of CO2 emissions as well to the gas monitoring and video surveillance system installed inside „Furna do Enxofre“ cave.


Event title: From risks to landscape

Date: from 10th October, 2020

Place: :“Mistérios Negros“ – Terceira Island

Type of activity: guided tour

Target group: all the population

Short description: guided tour at the official trail called "Mistérios Negros", along the lava fields os the historical eruption of 1761.


Event title: What to do in case of an earthquake

Date: from 13th October, 2020

Place: “ Volcanoes House“ – Pico Island

Type of activity: simulation

Target group: school

Short description: simulation of 1980 and 1998 earthquakes at the earthquake simulator at the Volcanoes House, and practical demonstration of what to do in case of an earthquake.


ESTRELA UNESCO Global Geopark (Portugal)

Event title: 5th Estrela Conference: "The Problem of Forest Fires in Portugal" (Portuguese: "O Problema dos Incêndios Florestais em Portugal"), by Professor Domingos Xavier Viegas, PhD.

Date: 14th October, 2020, 17:30 GMT+1 (Lisbon)

Place: Online – Facebook (facebook.com/EstrelaGeopark) and Zoom (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/82740800161)

Type of activity: webinar

Target group: general public

Short description: the Estrela Conferences are hosted, since 2017, as an open space to discuss the main problems and solutions for Estrela UGGp territory. For the 5th edition of the third cycle of conferences, celebrating the International Day on Disaster Risk Reduction 2020, we are honoured to have Professor Domingos Xavier Viegas, PhD, from University of Coimbra, lecturing in the “Problem of Forest Fires in Portugal”. Professor Viegas performs research regarding Forest Fires since 1986 and is currently President of ADAI - Association for the Development of Industrial Aerodynamics and director of the Laboratory for Forest Fire Studies (LEIF). The conference will be entirely presented in Portuguese.


MAESTRAZGO UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain)

event title: Main geologic risks of the Maestrazgo Geopark: International Day for Disaster Reduction 2020.

dates: 13th October, 2020

place: Maestrazgo Youtube Channel (Social media)


type of Activity: social media, video and up-to-date information about main geologic hazards in the Maestrazgo Geopark (Spain)

target group: inhabitants of the Geopark (broad audience)

short description: thought a brief video, broadcasting specifically for the IDDRD2020, it`will share information with simple and comprehensive language for all audiences about geohazard concept and the recognition of the main geological hazards in the Maestrazgo Geopark UGGp (Spain).


ORIGENS UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain)

event title: Sant Salvador de Toló, a dinamic geological territory

dates: 12th October, 2020

place: Sant Salvador de Toló (Lleida – Catalonia – Spain)

type of activity: interpretative tour with a geologist guide

target group: general public

short description: guided tour to see and explain some examples of geological risks, mainly rock falls and landslides

Past Commemorations