International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction - News | DEA&DP

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

13 October 2019

Town and spatial planners key in building a disaster resilient Province.

In light of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, celebrated annually on 13 October 2019, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development wishes to highlight the importance of spatial planning in developing climate resilient and disaster prepared cities. 

Catherine Stone, Director for Spatial Planning at Environmental Affairs and Development Planning said: “The provincial government and municipalities have to prepare spatial development frameworks setting out their long-term vision and plans for development. We have a wealth of spatial intelligence available and lessons learnt on disaster risks. Knowing what these risks are and where they are in this space allows us to plan responsibly about where we promote development, where existing infrastructure and communities are at risk and where we must retreat from. We also use this information to safeguard and rehabilitate environmental systems such as our coastline, river catchments and fire risk areas to buffer life and property from the impacts of climate change and the disaster risks that emanate from this.”

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction aims to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters. The "Sendai Seven" campaign, launched by the UN office Disaster Risk Reduction, is centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year's focus is Target D: Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.

Disasters can be classified as “immediate” (such as floods and fires), “slow-onset” (such as rainfall variability and rising sea levels) and man-made (such as a nuclear event).

“Sound planning requires understanding the various implications and guiding our actions to the benefit of the communities.  Our Provincial Spatial Development Framework serves as a guide where our Spatial Planners support Municipalities in the drafting of their own Spatial Development Frameworks which offer an opportunity to plan appropriate responses in anticipation of their own context specific risk profiles and disaster scenarios,” says Stone.

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Development Planning and Local Government in the Western Cape, says planning and preparation for disasters makes a huge difference in terms of outcomes once a disaster does strike.

“We are living in interesting times with the effects of climate change – for one thing – creating huge challenges for governments everywhere. Communities must become more resilient in order to withstand the shocks and disasters that they may face in future. Dealing with, and preparing for disasters is a collaborative effort and includes many Departments and agencies who all have unique roles to play with regard to impacts and responses. The process of spatial planning brings together these various agencies in the scenario generation and the planning methods employed to ensure optimal short and long-term impacts in the event of a disaster.”

For more information on our Spatial Planning directorate and to view the Western Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework visit:

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Title: Aerial view along the way to cape town

Name of photographer oNabby

Number 391186900