Japan-U.S. Sister Cities Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange

The Asia Pacific is home to millions of people in vibrant cities that drive their nation’s economies. Providing effective disaster preparedness, management, and response capabilities for these cities is critical to public safety as well as to political and economic stability. PWA developed the Sister Cities Initiative in response to the pivotal role of cities in disaster preparedness and response. Using the international sister cities network, this program enhances disaster management at the city level by building capacities and integrating the various local emergency responders, including businesses and industries. Sister Cities Exchanges connect disaster managers from cities in Japan, the U.S., and other Pacific Rim countries with various levels of governments, NGOs, militaries, and the private sector. Working closely with the City of Seattle’s Officer of Emergency Management, this Program strengthens municipalities’ capabilities for natural disaster preparedness and response .

Japan – U.S. Sister Cities Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange

Peace Winds America (PWA) and the Seattle Office of Emergency Management (SOME) inaugurated the Sister Cities Program with the Japan – U.S. Sister Cities Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange held September 15 – 17 at the Seattle Emergency Operations Center. The event hosted nearly 100 participants from the public, private and NGOs in Japan and the U.S. Focused on the sister cities of Seattle – Kobe, San Francisco – Osaka, and Honolulu – Hiroshima, this inaugural event conducted 17 sessions that explored a variety of topics critical to natural disaster planning and response. Topics included: Earthquakes, Flooding, Pandemic Diseases, Governmental Coordination, Military Involvement, Public Messaging, and Private – Public Partnerships.

The Exchange represents the first step towards better disaster preparedness and response in cities throughout the Asia Pacific. Participants have valuable emergency management experience and preparedness methods to share with each other. By demonstrating their willingness to continually learn and improve disaster preparedness and response methods, participants are performing a valuable service to their citizens while distinguishing their cities and organizations as national and international leaders in the field. Collaboration and coordination within and between governments, NGOs and the private sector were continuously highlighted as the key to effective disaster management. The Exchange helped to build and strengthen these relationships, as well as initiated an international network of disaster management professionals dedicated to providing the best disaster planning and relief to their communities. With Japan and the U.S. forming the foundation for this network, PWA and the Sister Cities Program will expand this network throughout the Asia Pacific.

Click on Conference Proceedings to view PWA’s publication from the 2010 Japan – U.S. Sister Cities Natural Disaster Preparedness and Response Exchange.

For more information please contact Patrick Schmitt at schmitt@peacewindsamerica.org.

Photos courtesy of Benjamin Erickson, HBCC


The private sector plays a key role in disaster preparedness and response. As such, PWA engages the private sector in every area of its programming including, conference participation, speaking opportunities, event sponsorship, resource exchange and more.

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