Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO)

Bureau du Coordonnateur des Nations Unies pour les secours en cas de catastrophe
Oficina del Coordinador de las Naciones Unidas para el Socorro en Casos de Desastre

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14 Dec 1971, by General Assembly resolution 2816 (XXVI), as a separate entity within the Secretariat of the United Nations (UN). The Coordinator, who reported directly to the Secretary General, was authorized to mobilize, direct and coordinate relief activities of the various organizations of the UN system in response to a request for disaster assistance from a stricken state and also to coordinate UN relief with the assistance given by other intergovernmental and by nongovernmental organizations, in particular the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This mandate also derived from resolutions 36/225 and 38/202 on strengthening the capacity of the United Nations to respond to natural disasters and other disaster situations and from resolutions 39/207, 41/201 and 43/204. In 1974, the UN General Assembly established UNDRO Trust Fund to receive voluntary contributions. UNDRO ceased to exist when incorporated into the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs, set up Apr 1992, currently United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).


Relief coordination: ensure that in case of natural disaster or other disaster situations, emergency relief activities of all donor sources are mobilized and coordinated so as to meet the needs of a disaster-stricken country in a timely and effective manner. Preparedness: assist in raising the level of pre-disaster planning and preparedness, including disaster assessment and relief management capability, in disaster-prone developing countries. Prevention: promote the study, prevention, prediction and mitigation of natural disasters, through the application of appropriate measures, including collection and dissemination of information concerning scientific and technological developments.

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Mobilizes and coordinates the relief activities of the various units of the United Nations system and assistance given by inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies in response to requests from countries stricken by natural disasters. Functions as an information centre, ensuring that all necessary data and information from the disaster site reach potential donors (United Nations specialized agencies, Member States of the United Nations, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, voluntary agencies) and that donor responses are matched to reported needs. Provides technical assistance to Governments, in cooperation with other institutions and organizations, in pre-disaster planning and preparedness, including the establishment of stockpiles in disaster-prone areas; and ensures the most effective use of available resources in order to make the total assistance effort of the international community as effective and timely as possible. Promotes the study, prevention, control and prediction of natural disasters, including the dissemination of information concerning technological developments. Provides technical assistance in disaster planning and disaster prevention and mitigation to disaster-prone developing countries, and stresses that disaster prevention and pre-disaster planning should be an integral part of the development policy of governments. Promotes scientific and technological research, the implementation of basic preventive measures, the improvement of forecasting and warning systems and, in general, the application of the latest science and technology to the preventive activities and emergency plans of disaster-prone countries. A United Nations International Emergency Network (UNIENET) has been set up within UNDRO. During 1986/1987, contributions for emergency relief reported to UNDRO, mobilized by it, or channelled through it, exceeded US$ 1,6 billion.

The United Nations General Assembly, by resolutions 42/169 and 44/236 decided to launch the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) to foster international cooperation in natural disaster reduction so as to reduce losses of life, property damage and social and economic disruption caused by natural disasters, especially in developing countries. The Decade commenced 1 Jan 1990. To support the activities of the Decade, a Secretariat has been established at the United Nations Office in Geneva (Switzerland), in close cooperation with UNDRO. The broad objectives of the Decade are to promote the adoption and universal application of advanced approaches to disaster reduction, develop techniques of implementation that are low-cost, broadly applicable and adaptable to the needs of all societies, and bring about a broader appreciation of the positive relationship between disaster reduction and economic and social development.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 39 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 19 non-governmental organizations.
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Information Services

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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Social Activity
    • Welfare
  • Commerce
    • Finance
  • Societal Problems
    • Prevention
    • Emergencies
  • Strategy
    • Coordination
  • International Relations
    • United Nations

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 13: Climate Action



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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