Commemorating 60th anniversary of devastating Skopje earthquake
Skopje to host international conference on urban resilience and earthquake preparedness
May 16, 2023
UNDP is hosting a high-level conference in Skopje, North Macedonia, to inspire action and propose policies to enhance the resilience of cities worldwide. The conference brings together a record number of representatives from 19 countries, national institutions, city officials, international organizations, academia, policymakers, civil society, the private sector, as well as individual influencers.
The conference takes place as the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the devastating Skopje earthquake in 1963, that left the city in ruins, profoundly impacting the lives of its residents and reshaping urban development of the city.
“Today, we are privileged to hear from different panels of practitioners and experts representing perspectives from the national government, city administrations, and academia reflections on topics related to earthquake preparedness and response, disaster risk reduction and building urban resilience, climate resilience and green urban development and examples on innovative approaches for smarter cities and future urban resilience,” said Marina Walter, Deputy Regional Director of UNDP, Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia.
“Disasters, especially catastrophic earthquakes, have a significant impact on people's lives, communities, and countries. They can lead to loss of life, displacement, economic losses, and significant setbacks to development gains. UNDP played a significant role in the reconstruction of the city after the earthquake and shaping the future Skopje in its most difficult moments. Solidarity in Skopje is still felt today wherever you go around the city. Boulevards, streets, buildings are monuments of solidarity. Hospitals and schools are named after the countries that helped, as are streets where entire neighborhoods were rebuilt after the earthquake," said Armen Grigoryan, UNDP North Macedonia Resident Representative.
The international solidarity demonstrated in the aftermath of the earthquake transformed the reconstruction effort into a symbol of friendship and brotherhood among nations. Skopje became a city of solidarity, with the whole world uniting to aid the victims and rebuild the city.
The three-day conference on Urban Resilience and Earthquake Preparedness is organized by UNDP North Macedonia, in collaboration with the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub. The event on 16 May 2023 will be followed by a ‘Disaster Risk Reduction Community of Practice and Crisis Preparedness and Response Training for Europe and Central Asia on 17 and 18th of May 2023. Skopje will therefore bring together UNDP disaster risk reduction practitioners from 18 countries, who will exchange experience and knowledge on prevention, reducing risk from disasters and state-of-the-art equipment use.
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