Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction: revealing risk, redefining development

Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction: revealing risk, redefining development

Exploring trends and patterns in disaster risk globally, regionally and nationally

The risk of being killed by a natural disaster is lower today than it was 20 years ago, except for those countries with low GDP and weak governance. In these countries, disasters significantly impact on social welfare (particularly child welfare) and cause mass internal displacement. This report provides a current resource for understanding and analysing global disaster risk. Drawing on a large volume of new and enhanced data, it explores trends and patterns in disaster risk globally, regionally and nationally.

In this paper the author points out that drought has a hidden risk, for while it impacts most visibly on agricultural production, significant losses spill over into other economic sectors. Furthermore, its social and economic impacts are disproportionately concentrated on poor rural households. For this reason, drought, more than any other disaster risk, is constructed by economic decisions and social choices.

The report argues that the number and quality of Hyogo Framework for Action progress reviews is evidence of a growing concern for reducing disaster risk. It adds that whereas good progress is being made in early warning, preparedness and response, countries are still struggling to address the underlying risk drivers. The paper also points out that gender and public awareness are not being adequately addressed and that investment in disaster risk management, particularly within sectors and through local governments, is severely limited. It reveals that the sheer scale of recurrent and probable maximum losses should shock governments into action since they are liable for a significant part of total expected losses, although they rarely have the contingency financing to match this liability. They need to decide how much risk they are willing to retain and how much they can afford to transfer.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • a balanced portfolio of prospective, corrective and compensatory risk management strategies is the most cost-effective way to reduce disaster risks and support development
  • existing social protection instruments should be adapted to reach out to millions at relatively low additional cost
  • to ensure the coherence of policy and planning, overall responsibility for disaster risk management needs to be located in a central ministry with a high level of political authority
  • where local capacities are limited, an incremental approach to decentralisation may be the best way forward.
  • the right to information on disaster risks is central to creating social demand and accountability.
  • engaging citizens and affected communities requires a shift in the culture of public administration.
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