Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD)

Disasters pose a threat to the wellbeing of millions of people all over the world. Climate change, weak governance, and an increasing concentration of people and assets in areas exposed to natural hazards are driving disaster risk upwards, especially in poor and fragile countries, which poses a critical threat to achieving the SDGs and traps people in cycles of poverty and vulnerability, leaving them only more exposed to future disasters. 

Over the past decade more than 1.5 billion people have been affected by disasters that have cost at least US$ 1.3 trillion. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

UNDP recognizes that the threat posed by disasters is magnified by the fact that disasters are often sudden and require immediate response. In the wake of a disaster, however, providing an immediate response is highly challenging.

Disaster preparedness measures and planning reduce the effects of disasters. Airport preparedness is vital to ensure relief goods and supplies reach the affected victims on time. Thus, the capacity of an airport to manage the influx of humanitarian aid and personnel efficiently determines the quality and timeliness of humanitarian assistance.

Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) is a public-private partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Deutsche Post DHL (DP DHL) to address the need for preparedness and response capacity of airports in disaster situations. GARD assesses airport capacities to manage the influx of humanitarian aid and personnel in disaster response situations; it trains airport staff and disaster responders on how to manage this influx; and helps authorities to develop an action plan to increase the response capacity in case of disaster and to guide response operations at the airport.

Since its setup in 2009, GARD has been implemented in 53 airports in 27 countries and trained 1,340 professionals including airport managers and airport operations staff, civil aviation authorities and national disaster management officials.

GARD Plus, is a workshop format aimed at monitoring the progress of implementation of the airport capacity assessment recommendations established following the standard one-week GARD workshop. As part of GARD Plus, the key measures which had been identified during the initial GARD workshop are typically reviewed after a period of twelve months. To foster the knowledge gained during the GARD workshop, GARD Plus may also include a practical simulation exercise.

Similarly, the GARD Train the Facilitator workshop format was piloted at the Calicut International Airport in Kozhikode City, India, in 2016. Fourteen airport operations experts from across India gathered for a five-day training workshop to learn how to evaluate the current level of preparedness at airports, conduct training exercises, and develop specific recommendations and ready an action plan to ensure that airports are prepared for future disasters.

In view of the increasing demands to better prepare regional airports for natural disasters, GARD Train the Facilitator has been established to scale up the GARD program within countries that are above average risk. The GARD Train the Facilitator program trains local topic experts to become facilitators and conduct GARD workshops in their own countries.

For further information on Get Airports Ready for Disaster, please contact:


Ioana Creitaru,


Cheryl Chen,

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