UCLG-MEWA held a webinar titled “Local Governments in Disasters: Sharing Experiences and Lessons Learnt” on May, 4, 2023. Webinar offered a platform to share examples of good practices and peer learning experiences gained in cases of disasters.

Moderated by Yehia Ibrahim, the focal point of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Social Inclusion, the program started with an opening speech by Dr. Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General. Duman mentioned the collective action carried out for the welfare of all humanity and cities, and touched on the importance of increasing the capacity and awareness of local governments. Duman also reiterated the need for preparedness against natural disasters referring to the February 6 Earthquake that hit Türkiye and Suriye.

The first session was moderated by Juan Carlos Vega from UCLG Learning team. As one of the speakers of the first session, Mutlu Kolağasıoğlu Uslu, Konya Metropolitan Municipality Foreign Relations Branch Manager, mentioned their post-quake recovery activities carried out in Hatay. Uslu noted, “We delivered post-disaster municipal services to more than 50.000 quake-affected people via our staff (3.000+) and vehicles (approx. 1.000)” and shared local data on the region.

Hamza Fahed Hasan Omoush, Greater Amman Municipality Representative at National Centre for Security and Crisis Management, was also among the panelists. He made a presentation covering their activities on localizing SDGs and mentioned Amman’s Climate Plan, Green City Action Plan, Smart Cities Road Map and VLR strategies within the context of resilience. Issa Kassis, Mayor of Ramallah, touched on the best practices they adopted in Covid-19 period, as part of their resilience strategy.

Priscilla Pegoraro, Public Health Technical Advisor and member of The Campinas Resilient City Committee, spoke on the disaster and resilience history of the city, symbol of which is phoenix, the symbol of resurrection itself. Emel Kıraç, Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Head of Environmental Protection and Climate Change Department, noted that they carried out recovery services in various areas such as accommodation, water sanitary, food supply and education support via “Post-Disaster Recovery Departments” founded by the municipality.

The second session was moderated by Reem Abusamra, UCLG-MEWA International Relations Vice-Coordinator. The first panelist of the session was Arda Batu, TURKONFED Secretary General. Speaking on the resilience from the perspective of business world and the precautions taken within this context, Batu stressed the importance of post-disaster recovery. Dr. Emin Yahya Menteşe, Researcher at Boğaziçi University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute and Tomorrow’s Cities Project, spoke on the multidimensional disaster risks within the context of social inclusion and underlined how crucial it is to develop context-focused policies. UCLG Learning Director Sara Hoeflich shared her vision on resilience for future generations and added, “We have only one planet, and we have to save it for future generations.”

UCLG-MEWA International Relations Coordiantor, Osman Çorumlu, made a presentation on the Resilience Forum that will be realized on June, 2023. Çorumlu noted that Trabzon Resilience Declaration (TRD) offers a special focus on social resilience and the conservation of cultural heritage at the closure session of the webinar.

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