Lecture on Disaster Risk Reduction and Role of Science and Technology and Youth towards Resilient Communities

AN- Najah University
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Arab States


Ms Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction will present a "Lecture on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Role of Science and Technology and Youth towards Resilient Communities". 

Thie lecture is organized by An-Najah National University (ANNU) which is a Palestinian non-governmental public university governed by a board of trustees. It is located in Nablus, in the northern West Bank. The University is a vibrant hub of learning which nourishes science, knowledge, and understanding. An-Najah offers undergraduate instruction in the fields of Medicine, Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences, as well as numerous courses of graduate study in the humanities and the social sciences.

Lecture Background:

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (Sendai Framework) emphasizes that risk is everyone’s business – explicitly identifying the need for all-of-society and all-of-State institutions’ engagement. This puts the onus on all of us to understand the nature of risk – that death, loss or damage (impacts that define a disaster – that are the disaster) are a function of the context of hazard, vulnerability and exposure. The Sendai Framework exhorts us to reduce risk by avoiding decisions that create risk, by reducing existing risk and by building resilience.

The Sendai Framework tells us that the risk landscape has changed, that it is complex, and that we have perhaps been slow to realize this. This necessitates that we understand better the systemic nature of risk, how we can recognize, measure and model risk, and develop strategies to enhance the scientific, social and political cooperation needed to move towards systemic risk governance. In line with the guiding principles on inclusivity and shared responsibility, and given the complexity of the risk landscape, it is now more crucial to ensure an all-of-society engagement in DRR through new opportunities for partnerships and strengthened governance mechanisms at various levels, as called for by the Sendai Framework.

Globally and regionally, UNDRR has fostered partnerships with several DRR stakeholder groups in support of governments to implement their regional and national DRR strategies in line with Sendai Framework. In the Arab region, the Arab Science and Technology Advisory Group for DRR (Arab-STAG) and Arab Major Children and Youth Group for DRR were formed in 2018, among other groups, to support the implementation of Sendai Framework at regional, national and local levels. The groups delivered voluntary commitments at the last regional platform for DRR organized in Tunis in October 2018. Among its commitments, the Arab STAG committed to developing a roster of DRR experts and work towards bringing science and technology into sectoral plans and promoting DRR, research and innovation inclusion in higher education through regional related organizations.

Since youth under age 30 currently make up more than half the world’s population, they are the ones who will benefit most from reducing the risk and impact of disasters, curtailing climate chaos and achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To strengthen the participation of youth as active stakeholders and change agents in DRR in the Arab region, their participation in evidence-based DRR efforts through innovation and research is critical. Currently, the Arab STAG does not have under-30-year-old PhD holders in DRR among its members, and therefore, the need for more investment in Arab youth scientists in this regard is evident.

Noting that An-Najah University Master’s students have engaged heavily in the previous MCR campaign, the launch of the new MCR Programme 2030 is of great interest to them. UNDRR has recently launched the new MCR Programme 2030 as a unique cross-stakeholder initiative for improving local resilience through advocacy, sharing knowledge and experiences, establishing mutually reinforcing city-to-city learning networks, injecting technical expertise, connecting multiple layers of government and building partnerships. 

Through delivering a clear roadmap to urban resilience and providing access to knowledge management and monitoring and reporting tools, MCR2030 will support cities on their journey to reduce risk and build resilience. MCR2030 aims to ensure cities become inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030, contributing directly to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) and other global frameworks including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda.


The main target audience of the lecture will be master’s students from the Disaster Risk Management master program at ANNU. However, the session will feature over 180 participants including ANNU students, members of the National DRR Platform, National DRM Centre, engineers association, and officials from the planning directorates in the municipalities, in addition to members of a self-organized group of DRM Master’s graduates formed in March 2020 in Gaza.

Lecture Objectives:

  1. Introduction to the concept of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Sendai Framework 2015 – 2030
  2. Understanding the complexity of the systemic nature of risk nowadays and the cruciality of the all-of-society engagement.
  3. Understanding the role of science and technology and youth in disaster risk reduction and developing resilient communities, and the crucial role of the Arab STAG and Arab Major Children and Youth Group for DRR as stakeholder groups.
  4. Understanding the need for urban resilience (Introduction to Making Cities Resilience Programme 2030)



Palestine time

13:00 - 13:05

Dr. Eng. Nidal Dweikat


 ANNU Vice President for Planning, Development and Quality

  • Opening and Welcoming Remarks on behalf of An-Najah National University

13:05 - 13:10

Dr. Estephan Salameh 

Prime Minister's planning and policy advisor 

  • Welcoming Remarks on behalf of the Prime Minister of Palestine

13:10 - 13:15

Dr. Mohamed Odeh Qasrawi

Coordinator of the National DRM Centre and National Sendai Focal Point

  • Achievements of Palestine in implementing Sendai Framework for DRR

13:15 – 13:35

Prof. Dr. Jalal Dabbeek

Head of Engineers Association and Professor and Director of Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center at ANNU.

  • Overview of An-Najah National University Programmes and key outcomes and successes of Master students’ research projects.


13:35 - 14:15

Ms. Mami Mizutori, Guest Lecture

UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction

  • Lecture on Disaster Risk Reduction and Role of Science and Technology and Youth towards Resilient Communities

14:15 - 14:45

Master Students presentations of their theses’ topics and projects

14:45 - 14:55

Q & A (10 minutes)

14:55 - 15:00

Closing Remarks by Dr. Jalal Dabbeek