Section IV C. Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world
11. Disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness, and post-disaster rehabilitation capabilities

170. The impact on people and human settlements of natural and human-made disasters is becoming greater. Disasters are frequently caused by vulnerabilities created by human actions, such as uncontrolled or inadequately planned human settlements, lack of basic infrastructure and the occupation of disaster-prone areas. Armed conflicts also have consequences that affect human settlements and the country as a whole. Accordingly, both disasters and armed conflicts call for specific involvement and rehabilitation and reconstruction processes that may necessitate international involvement, at the request of the Government of the country concerned. The impact of such disasters and emergencies is especially severe in countries where prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response capacities are ineffective in dealing with such situations.

171. The most efficient and effective disaster preparedness systems and capabilities for post-disaster response are usually provided through volunteer contributions and local authority actions at the neighbourhood level. These can operate independently, irrespective of reduced, damaged or destroyed infrastructure or capacity elsewhere. Specific actions are also required at the appropriate levels of government, including local authorities, in partnership with the private sector and in close coordination with all community groups, to put into place disaster preparedness and response capacities that are coordinated in their planning but flexible in their implementation. The reduction of vulnerability, as well as the capacity to respond, to disasters is directly related to the degree of decentralized access to information, communication and decision-making and the control of resources. National and international cooperation networks can facilitate rapid access to specialist expertise, which can help to build capacities for disaster reduction, to provide early warning of impending disasters and to mitigate their effects. Women and children are the most affected in situations of disaster, and their needs should be considered at all stages of disaster management. Women's active involvement in disaster planning and management should be encouraged.


172. In improving natural and human-made disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation and response, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, and in close consultation and cooperation with such entities as insurance companies, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, organized communities, and the academic, health and scientific community, should:

173. Consideration should be given by all Governments and international organizations that have expertise in the field of clean-up and disposal of radioactive contaminants to providing appropriate assistance as may be requested for remedial purposes in adversely affected areas.

174. With respect to the mitigation of disasters, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, in partnership with all interested parties, should, as appropriate:

175. In order to prevent technological and industrial disasters, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, as appropriate, should: 176. In preparing for and implementing post-disaster relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and resettlement, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, in partnership with all interested parties, should:  
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