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Geneva Green Guide

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)

Main Office
9-11 Rue de Varembé
Geneva, Switzerland
(+41 22) 9178907-8
(+42 22) 7339531, 7339855

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) was created by the UN General Assembly in December 1999 as the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Its mandate was expanded in 2001. Within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNISDR supports the implementation, follow-up and review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was adopted by the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March. 

Intergovernmental organizations
100, at headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in five regional offices and field offices
Robert Glasser, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

Disasters are exacting a huge toll, with hundreds of thousands of lives and US$1.5 trillion lost in the last decade alone. Economic losses from disasters are now averaging US$250 billion to 300 billion each year. This trend is set to continue as exposure in hazard-prone countries grows more rapidly than vulnerability is reduced. Economic development, the rapid pace of urbanisation and population growth concentrate people and economic activity in hazard-prone areas. With climate change, environmental degradation and rising inequality, successfully managing disaster risk in these areas will be a determining factor of prosperity and sustainability.

Disaster risk is part of the DNA of social and economic development, rooted in poverty and inequality, evolving over time. Consequently, managing disaster risks cannot be separated from the broader governance of social and economic development. Successful disaster risk governance relies on accountable institutions, appropriately resourced local governments, functional judicial systems, and low levels of poverty and social inequality.

UNISDR recognises that behavioural change of society as a whole is required to substantially reduce disaster losses. It therefore directly supports governments and acts as a convener and catalyst for action by a wide range of stakeholders, including the United Nations system and regional organisations, major groups, civil society and the private sector, parliamentarians and key decision-makers, and the science and technology community.

International agreements on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, financing for development, and climate change mitigation and adaptation present a unique opportunity for increased coherence and global impact. For the first time, this set of interconnected agreements has the potential to catalyse international development that is sensitive to trade-offs between economic, social and environmental priorities, recognises the critical role of gender equality and mainstreaming, and reflects an understanding of climate and disaster risk.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 – the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action that was in force from 2005 to 2015 – marks a crucial shift from managing disasters to managing and reducing risk and establishes resilience-building as a common denominator of the 2030 Agenda.
UNISDR's work is anchored on the four priorities for action set out in the Sendai Framework: understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. 

UNISDR's activities are guided by the following:

Vision: The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses for a sustainable future

Mandate: Focal point of the United Nations system for disaster risk reduction and the custodian of the Sendai Framework, supporting countries and societies in its implementation, monitoring and review of progress.

Overarching Objective: The prevention of new and reduction of existing disaster risk and strengthening resilience through successful multi-hazard disaster risk management. 


With UN agencies, governments, NGOs, international, regional and local organizations, academia, scientific and technical institutions, the media and the private sector.


Include the biennial Global Assessment Report, a comprehensive review and analysis of disaster risk and risk management. Additional publications are available on the UNISDR website. UNISDR also maintains the PreventionWeb portal on disaster risk reduction.

public awareness
information systems
hazardous waste