Global programme for the integration of public administration and the science of disasters


At a depth of 11km directly under the city of Tangshan, the Great Tangshan Earthquake unleashed a destructive power four hundred times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. Fatalities were sustained as far away as Beijing, 200km to the west.

  • Executing agency: UN/DESA Division for Public Economics and Public Administration
  • Senior advisor: Ms. Jeanne-Marie Col
  • Start date: 1 January 1996
  • Partners: UNDP; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Chinese Academy of Sciences; Ministry of Civil Affairs of China; Foundation for Research and International Education relating to Natural Disasters (FRIEND)
  • Total budget: USD 137,593

The United Nations Global Programme for the Integration of Public Administration and the Science of Disasters (UNGP-IPASD) opens up avenues of communication between scientists, public administrators and individuals in communities throughout the world. It facilitates the sharing of information, data and experiences among scientists and administrators, who in turn strengthen communities to be able to measure risk through lay methods, and to take responsibility for self-organization to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters.

The Global Programme aims at reducing human suffering related to the incidence of natural disasters. It also serves to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public administration so that everyday routines, as well as disaster management functions, are performed optimally. Both anticipation and management aspects are fully integrated, in order to take advantage of scientific information on disasters an public administration capacity to respond to such information with measured, effective strategies.

Objectives: Cooperation between public administrators and scientists Improvements in coordination of government operations Advances in anticipating the occurrence of natural disasters Public education in disaster awareness and community preparedness

Early Warning Successes: 1998 Huge floods in southern China anticipated 5 months in advance. Effective preparation coordinated by government,local communities and UN agencies 1997 Jiashi County, Xinjiang, China: successful earthquake prediction and response 1999 Jiashi County, Xinjiang, China: local capacity to monitor precursors and prepare was established in 1998 and used in March 1999, when the County anticipated (2 March) and prepared for its own earthquake (17 March) locally 1976 Qinglong County's public officials predict and prepare for magnitude 7.8 earthquake (no deaths in the County although 240,000 in surrounding counties)

Activities: International and national conferences of administrators and scientists (1997, etc) Workshops on anticipation and preparation methods (1998) Publications (1996) Guidelines for Capacity Building for Disaster Management Research on Best Practices (1995-present) Qinglong Country in Tangshan Earthquake (past success offers model for future quake early warning) Check Website for future publications and information to participate in programme