EASST and FIRE AID representative, Julie Utting, attended the third global conference on disaster risk reduction in Sendai during March 2015 with over 6,000 other delegates from across the globe who convened in Japan to report on the Hyogo Framework for Action and adopt a new framework for disaster risk reduction. Sendai – whose coastal areas suffered catastrophic damage from a magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake in March 2011, which triggered a destructive tsunami – provided the setting for 187 UN Member States to convene.

The UN Secretary General opens the conference

Miss Utting attended workshops, panel discussions, lectures, receptions and working excursions – distributing information about EASST and FIRE AID to new audiences not previously accessed by either organisation. Hundreds of people heard about projects conducted by EASST and its local partners working on road safety in the Former Soviet Union, and about FIRE AID and its members’ projects which focusing on emergency response across the globe – all vital to building resilience.

Julie and a small delegation of 15-20 people from other countries were hosted by the mayor of Millennium Hopes Hills/Iwanuma City where they saw first-hand how a Japanese village had ‘built back better’ following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011.

The global conference hosted 14 venues across Sendai centre including the mediatheque centre housing some 200 exhibitors who were presented with information on EASST and FIRE AID projects.

This was an opportunity well used to promote initiatives on a global platform and to promote UK organisations more widely to new audiences. Many positive outcomes were achieved and EASST and FIRE AID look forward to further and fuller engagement with UNISDR and HFA 2 as its work develops over the next decade.