United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) (1990s)

On 11 December 1987 at its 42nd session, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated the 1990’s as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The basic idea behind this proclamation of the Decade was and still remains to be the unacceptable and rising levels of losses which disasters continue to incur on the one hand, and the existence, on the other hand, of a wealth of scientific and engineering know-how which could be effectively used to reduce losses resulting from disasters.

The UN World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction which was part of a mid-term review of Decade activities, was held in Yokohama (Japan), 23-27 May 1994. The UN-FAO/ECE/ILO Team of Specialists used the opportunity to express its views on global fire to the IDNDR (Yokohama Fire Report).

In 1997 close links were established between the IDNDR Secretariat in Geneva and the Fire Ecology Research Group and the Global Fire Monitoring Center. In July 1997 the GFMC was entrusted with the formation of a Working Group “Fire and Related Environmental Hazards” of the IDNDR Early Warning Programme. The recommendations of the report which was submitted to IDNDR in 1997 were incorporated into the Report of the UN Secretary General “Improved effectiveness of early-warning systems with regard to natural and similar disasters”. Full text of the Working Group Report

The IDNDR Successor Programme: The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)

As its name implied, the IDNDR officially came to an end in 1999. However, during its ten-year span of activities, it achieved such important successes – especially in terms of forging vital links among the political, scientific and technological communities – that the United Nations created a successor body to carry on its work. This new body of coordinated action programmes, with a secretariat in Geneva, is ISDR.

The new ISDR website is now accessible at (the IDNDR website is still on line) and provides all background information (ISDR mandate, declaration of intent, the Interagency Task Force, all UN Documents on ISDR, and a broad range of information on ISDR activities and the international links).

The contribution of the IDNDR/GFMC fire group during the transition phase from IDNDR to ISDR is highlighted in two contributions published in International Forest Fire News (IFFN) in April 2000:

Working Group on Wildland Fire within the ISDR Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF)

In 2000, the Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF), a subsidiary body of the ISDR, established the Working Group on Wildland Fire. This Working Group (Working Group 4 – WG4) was one of four Working Groups and is chaired by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), member of IATF. The Working Group provides an international, inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary platform for policy makers, scientists and managers to address wildland fire issues at global level.

For more information, background documents and progress reports: See website of the Working Group on Wildland Fire (2000-2004):

Mr. Kenzo Oshima, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (left), welcoming Johann Georg Goldammer (right), leader of IATF Working Group on Wildland Fire (Geneva, May 2001). See also exchange of letters between USG Oshima and GFMC (2001-2002).

Initial meeting of the members of the UNISDR Working Group on Wildland Fire and constituting members of the International Liaison Committee of the International Wildland Fire Conferences (WMO, Geneva, December 2001). First row (from left to right): Johann Georg Goldammer (GFMC, convener), Ms. Etsuko Tsunozaki (UNISDR Secretariat), Eduard P. Davidenko (Russia); Brian J. Stocks (Canada). Second row: Christopher O. Justice (GOFC-GOLD, U.S.A.), Gary Morgan (SOPAC, Australia), Liisa Jalkanen (WMO). Third row: Stephen J. Pyne (Arizona State University, U.S.A.), Dieter Schwela (WHO), Denny Truesdale (U.S. Forest Service) and Peter G.H. Frost (Zimbabwe).

The mandate of the Working Group has been formally announced by the UN General Assembly, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). See Report of the UN Secretary General (p.15, para 49) at:

More information on successor arrangements and the history of international cooperation in fire management.


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