UNESCO ATLAS on Natural Hazards



UNESCO ATLAS on Natural Hazards
A tool to manage the unexpected uncertainties to foster socio-ecological systems resilience in the Arab Region

27 November 2019
09:00 – 12:30

The 2010 Environment Outlook Report for the Arab Region points out that most of disaster losses in the region are caused by drought, earthquakes, floods and storms. Rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, water scarcity, changing demography and migration trends are further amplifying levels of vulnerability of ecosystems, society and economy in the Arab world. For the past decades, natural hazards including flash floods, landslides, forest fires, sand storms and extreme weather conditions have been numerous in the region causing death and affecting the socio-ecological systems (SES), infrastructure and economies. The latest events in Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Muscat, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, and Sudan, reveal an alarming stage where countries in the region shall take serious steps towards fulfilling the seven targets and four priorities for action of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 while strengthening their SES resilience and social preparedness.
The Sendai framework endorsed by UN General Assembly as the first major Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, aims to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries. In April 2018, an Arab Strategy on DRR was adopted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Accordingly, the regional platforms held in 2018 expressed the need to enhance the effectiveness of disaster risk management measures and the adoption of risk reduction strategies and plans for adaptation to climate change.
Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation (EbA) and to disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) as well as Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) present good practices for cost-effective solutions and approaches offering environmental, social and economic benefits. The approaches are inspired by and aligned with nature to help build SES resilience to disaster risks and climate change.



UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in the Arab States |
Ecology and Earth Science Programme, Cairo, Egypt




  • Contact

    Alik Ismail-Zade

    IUGG Secretary-General International Union of Geophysics and Geodesy (IUGG), International Science Council
    Institute of Applied Geosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


Meeting’s Objective


This side-event alongside the 2nd CAJG addresses UNESCO ATLAS on Natural Hazards in the Arab Region and its future online platform. The Regional ATLAS in its first edition to be published by December 2019, will present country’s profile including the occurrence of natural hazards (NHs) and ecosystems vulnerability to NHs in each of the eighteen countries. It will emphasize the importance of EbA, Eco-DRR and NBS and it will shed the light on the existing mitigation measures and adaptation approaches, the ones based either on acquired traditional knowledge or on results of scientific and spatial analysis.  The ATLAS aims to present other than subjective description on ecosystem services and life support systems, the spectrum of SES and socio-economy dynamics resilience in various UNESCO designated sites (i.e. Biosphere Reserves, Natural Sites and Cultural Sites). The side-event will feature the simulation of the online toolbox with its E-catalogue on EbAs, Eco-DRR and NBS gathered from the countries in the Region. It will be presented as a hub for good practices, offers tips and guidelines for mitigating NHs risks based on the 7 targets of Sendai Framework and the implementation of Arab Strategy on DRR issued in 2018.


The key message


EbAs, Eco-DRR and NBS are among the cost effective approaches to strengthen ecosystems resilience and social preparedness to manage the unexpected uncertainties of Natural Hazards events in the Arab countries region.


Opening Talk


Insights on the Science and Policy behind mitigating natural hazards and climate change impacts in the Arab region

27 November 2019
09:00 – 09:30

  • Contact

    Ghaith H. Fariz

    Director of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States,
    Cluster Office for Egypt and Sudan and UNESCO Representative to Egypt,
    Cairo, Egypt



27 November 2019
09:30 – 12:00

  • Keynote I. 2018 Arab Strategy on DRR and the Role of the Arab League in ‘operationalizing’ the online platform
    Speaker: Shahira Wahbi, Chief of Natural Resources Sustainability & Partnerships, League of Arab States, Cairo, Egypt
  • Keynote II. Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative Middle East and North Africa, Cairo, Egypt
  • Keynote III. ArabSTAG Role in supporting the science and technology for enriching the EbAs and NBS database
    Speaker: Chadi Abdallah, Chair of Arab Science and Technology Advisory Group of Disaster Risk Reduction (ArabSTAG), Beirut, Lebanon
  • Keynote IV. Simulation on the future DRR online toolbox
    Speaker: Mohamed El Gabry, UNESCO Consultant, National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Cairo, Egypt


Closing remarks


Mobilizing regional efforts for keeping the pace for a living DRR toolbox and hub of knowledge on EbA, Eco-DRR and NBS

27 November 2019
12:00 – 12:30

  • Contact

    Elsa J. Sattout

    Programme Specialist, Ecological and Earth Sciences
    UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States
    Cairo, Egypt



  • League of Arab States (LAS)
  • Arab Science and Technology Advisory Group (Arab STAG)
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office, Cairo
  • Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) Middle East, Jordan