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Linking disaster management and human development

May 20, 2009

UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, Risk and poverty in a global climate provides a comprehensive account of the impact of natural hazards on humanity. It calls for a radical shift in development practices, and the need for pre-emptive risk reduction policies.

Risk and poverty in a global climate

Publisher:  UNISDR, May 2009

The Report is the first biennial global assessment of disaster risk reduction prepared in the context of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). It presents a global risk analysis on emerging disaster and climatic risk patterns and trends, in particular those related to poverty and human development concerns.

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Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, fires and other events, when combined with ‘risk drivers’ such as increasing urbanisation, poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods and the decline of ecosystems, can lead to massive human misery and crippling economic losses.

To achieve, by 2015, the substantial reduction of disaster losses as called in The Hyogo Framework for Action and in the Millennium Development Goals, the need for sound response mechanisms and implementing disaster risk reduction measures becomes essential.

This report provides hard-hitting evidence to demonstrate how, where and why disaster risk is increasing globally and presents key findings from a global analysis of disaster risk patterns and trends, including where high mortality and economic loss is concentrated. It also presents a comprehensive review of progress by countries in implementing risk reduction measures, within the context of achieving sustainable development goals.

The central message of the report is that reducing disaster risk can provide a vehicle to reduce poverty, safeguard development and adapt to climate change, with beneficial effects on broader global stability and sustainability.

In many developing countries, disaster risk is also spreading extensively, manifested as a very large number of low-intensity impacts, affecting significant areas of a country’s territory.

The report recommends a 20-point plan to reduce risk. The core areas are:

  • Accelerate efforts to avoid dangerous climate change.
  • Increase the economic resilience of small and vulnerable economies.
  • Adopt high-level development policy frameworks to reduce risk.
  • Focus development policy on addressing the underlying risk drivers.
  • Adopt an approach supportive of local initiatives.
  • Incorporate innovations into the governance of disaster risk reduction.
  • Invest to reduce risk.

It is essential to strengthen rural livelihoods to decrease the vulnerability and increases resilience. Improved social protection should also be a key priority not only in those areas subject to concentrations of intensive risk, but in all communities affected by ongoing manifestations of extensive risk.

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