A Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has warned of new and much larger threats due to extreme climate changes to economies, in particular the Asia Pacific.
- The GAR was launched at the ‘Global Platform’ organised by the UNDRR.
- The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP) is a biennial multi-stakeholder forum, critical component of the monitoring and implementation process of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030).
- GP 2019 is being held in Geneva, Switzerland from 13th to 17th May, 2019.
- About $5.2 billion was spent on reducing disaster risk between 2005 and 2017, representing just 3.8% of total humanitarian spending.
- Development aid used for things such as early warning systems, building stronger schools and hospitals, and helping farmers grow hardier crops in drought-prone areas was minuscule compared with funding for disaster response.
- It identifies a range of major threats to human life and property, including air pollution, diseases, earthquakes, drought and climate change.
- There is also growing potential for one type of disaster to produce or exacerbate another as happens often in the case of heavy rains which trigger landslides and mudslides following wildfires or periods of long drought.
- It warns that failure to act more urgently to manage intertwined risks could slow or even reverse progress towards the UN goals on sustainable development, which include eradicating poverty and hunger.
- Human losses and asset losses relative to gross domestic product tend to be higher in the countries with the least capacity to prepare, finance and respond to disasters and climate change, such as Small Island Developing States.
- Economic losses to the extent of 4% of GDP annually are projected, if countries don’t invest in DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction).
- It has been estimated that an annual investment of $6 billion in DRR strategies would generate benefits of up to $360 billion each year.
- The report urges governments to put the Sendai Framework into action, shifting focus from disaster management to reducing risk.