United Nations praises Hunter research into risk reduction

Focused: UN Assistant Secretary General Nikhil Seth said "all citizens" needed to help achieve the organisation's goals. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Focused: UN Assistant Secretary General Nikhil Seth said "all citizens" needed to help achieve the organisation's goals. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HUNTER research into minimising the risk of man-made or natural disasters is being used to assist communities across the globe, according to United Nations Assistant Secretary General Nikhil Seth.

The University of Newcastle and Newcastle City Council hosted Mr Seth on Monday at the Centre for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Reduction, which was established after the UN endorsed Newcastle in 2015 as one of 16 cities across the world to host a training and research centre.

Newcastle is now the Asia-Pacific hub for global studies in the field.

In the past year, the centre’s projects have included work on building codes for informal settlements in Nepal and Bangladesh.

“We want to take this to the most distressed and vulnerable countries – small islands, less developed countries, landlocked countries, countries in conflict or emerging from conflict,” Mr Seth said.

“What we can learn from your experience in Australia and the advanced thinking you’ve done in many of these areas will be of great value as we develop our own training programs in many of these poorer countries.”

Mr Seth said disasters needed to be prevented and their effects minimised, or the world could be “thrown off” the path towards achieving the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, which include ending poverty, climate action and gender equality.

He said governments of all sizes could deliver policies – and stakeholders needed to work more closely together –  to help achieve the goals.

“The sizes of the municipalities are less important than the fact we have multiple municipalities that have become part of this ever expanding network.”