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RTPI calls on government to prioritise diaster risk reduction

06 January 2011

Ann SkipppersUK Government should implement greater measures to reduce the risk of global humanitarian disasters by drawing on experienced built environment professionals, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute.

The Government's Humanitarian Emergency Response Review – due to be published early this year – will consider how the UK can build on its leading role in disaster response. RTPI, in partnership with ICE, RIBA and RICS, has written to the review leader, Paddy Ashdown, calling for greater emphasis on risk reduction strategies. The submission calls for better use to be made of built environment professionals who can implement key measures to reduce risk and ensure swifter recovery.

Modest investment in disaster risk reduction can substantially lower the damage to lives and livelihoods caused by disasters. Evidence suggests that disaster risk reduction offers significant value for money; for example, every $1 spent can prevent losses of $7 .

For planning professionals such as RTPI members in the UK and round the world, the emphasis is on planning settlements and infrastructure which are resilient and reduce the risk to the population; in the long-term, that offers the best value for money.

Ann Skippers (pitcured top right), President of the RTPI said:

\"Rapid growth of human settlements, urban sprawl, the increase in the extent and number of informal settlements, climate change and degradation of vital ecosystems and their impact upon health and economic well-being are amongst the critical issues that now confront the world; the risk from natural disaster and extreme weather is ever-present. We hope that this Review will result in a higher priority for disaster risk reduction, and widen knowledge of the humanitarian practice of the built environment professions. The work of the professions in the field of disaster risk reduction is an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce the impact of natural hazards and ensure faster and more sustainable recovery.\"