Dr. Jalal Al Dabbeek, the director of the Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction Center / Earth Sciences and Seismic Engineering Unit at An -Najah University and the vice president of the National Agency for Disaster Risk Mitigation, participated in the First Arab Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which was held in Al Aqaba, Jordan. Also participating in the conference were a number of UN Agencies (UNISDR, UNESCO, OCHA, UNDP), the League of Arab States and representatives of several countries, international agencies, international scientific institutions, as well as representatives of dozens of municipalities and local government bodies in the Arab world and the countries of the world.
Also in attendance were diplomats, ministers, and representatives of a number of universities and scientific centers in the Arab world. The UNISDR invited Dr. Al Dabbeek to participate in this conference.
Represented at the conference were the Directorate of Civil Defense, the municipalities of Nablus, Al-Bireh, Tulkarem, Gaza, and the Governorate of Tulkarem, in addition to the Center for Urban Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction at An-Najah National University.
The conference sessions focused on the following main topics:
- Regional Progress in Disaster Risk reduction and the Implementation of Hyogo
Framework for Action (HFA).
- Developing a Global Disaster Risk Reduction Framework in 2015 “HFA2”.
- Urban Risk Reduction in the Arab Region
- Institutional and Legislative systems for urban risk management in the region.
- World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient”
- Good Practices in Urban Risk Reduction.
- Discussion on challenges and opportunities for DRR in the region in light of
progress made so far and expectations from post-HFA process
In the session devoted to the issue of urban planning and earthquake risk reduction in the Arab region, Dr. Al Dabbeek gave a lecture on the seismic risk in the cities of the Levant and reviewed the concept of disaster risk reduction. He discussed the correlation between urbanization and development on one hand and disasters on the other hand as well as the main seismic faults in the Levant and seismic vulnerability. He pressed the importance of site effect microzonation maps for the site’s influence factors in reducing seismic vulnerability, and gave an overview of earthquakes experienced by cities in Arab countries as well as the main factors that contribute to rising the vulnerability in Arab cities. He concluded with a presentation of the gaps and challenges related to seismic risk facing Arab cities and recommendations which should be implemented to reduce the impact of these risks.