Disaster Risk Reduction

Context:  Recently, the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) was released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
Probable Question: Q. Discuss the main findings and recommendations of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) was released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) report.
 About Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • It is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.
  • DRR is aimed at preventing the creation of disaster risk, the reduction of existing risk and the strengthening of economic, social, health and environmental resilience.
  • Examples of DRR: Reducing exposure to hazards, lessening vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improving preparedness and early warning for adverse events.
Highlight of Report
  • Weak Support: Despite pledges to increase resilience, combat climate change, and forge paths towards sustainable development, present societal, political, and economic decisions are having the opposite effect.
    • This jeopardizes not only the achievement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, but also hinders progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • World at risk: Human choices and demographic trends increase the likelihood that disaster can spread and impact all continents rapidly.
    • Exposure to underlying risk factors, such as high levels of air pollution, unsafe housing or limited access to health services, were found to significantly affect fatality rates.
  • Systemic Risk: The systemic impacts of disaster derailes SDG achievements across almost all indicators.
    • Example: the economic and social costs of the pandemic in 2020, measured in life years lost, far outweighed the average annual costs of other disasters, and the summed cost of all epidemics from 2000 to 2019.
  • Disaster loss and poverty: Poverty is a cause and a consequence of disaster risk, particularly extensive risk.
    • The frequent disasters add to the poverty burden of the world. 
    • An additional 37.6 million people are estimated to be living in conditions of extreme poverty due to the impacts of climate change and disasters by 2030.
    • According to the UN, a “worst case” scenario of climate change and disasters will push an additional 100.7 million into poverty by 2030.
  • Low Insurance Cover: Annual direct economic loss from disasters has more than doubled over the past three decades. It increased to over $170 billion in the 2010s from an average of around $70 billion in the 1990s.
    • Just 40 per cent of all disaster-related losses were insured between 1980 and 2018.
  • Increasing Tendency: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius in the near-term will cause unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans.
  • Unequal Impact on Vulnerable: Although the pandemic has affected all countries and regions, vaccine inequity has seen lower-income countries left behind. 
    • The cascading health and economic impacts have been worse for poorer and marginalized communities, women exposed to violence and small economies dependent on tourism.
    • Myopic thinking: Despite warnings and data that a COVID-19 pandemic was overdue, preparedness was inadequate and governance systems across the world struggled to pivot to a new reality.
 Recommendation from the Report:
  • Shifting perception about risk: Hazards highlights the need to recognize that planetary and human systems are interdependent, and that risk knowledge systems need to become more flexible and open to different world-views, including indigenous and traditional perspectives.
  • Reconfigure governance to work across silos and design in consultation with affected people.
    • This requires increased efforts to create common terminologies and provide open access data across disciplines to create shared knowledge, encourage lateral collaboration and speed up the pace of learning.
  • Strict MonitoringGovernments need to ensure regulations are in place to prevent, reduce or ensure the resilience of construction in unsafe locations, such as flood-plains, areas subject to sea-level rise or areas at extremely high risk of fire or other hazards.
    • Rework the way current institutional arrangements design and account for the costs of disaster-related losses, particularly with regard to long-term risks.
  • Role of Private sector has a major role to play in accelerating risk reduction action and in reducing losses from future disasters.
    • Example: Banks and financial institutions that provide property improvement loans can require specific risk reduction measures to be undertaken as a condition for a mortgage
  • Innovative Financial Solutions: Rework financial systems to account for the real costs of risk, particularly long-term risks, and rework investment and insurance systems to incentivize risk reduction.
    • Ex:  Green bonds helped accelerate the finance of renewable energy, similar financial products are needed to incentivize and ease investment that is resilient to disaster risk and climate change.
    • Financial systems, including insurance, must be reworked to account for the real costs of risk, particularly long-term risks,
  • Changes in Sovereign Budget: National budgets need to evolve to include risk and uncertainty components, so financial planners can become more adept at adaptive planning and are better able to pivot resources in crisis situations.
  • Data for Decision Making: Basic data collection at national and local levels to inform comprehensive needs and risk assessments for the formulation of policy and plans
  • Technology for Disaster Proofing: AI based modelling is probably the right approach to build scenarios for the medium, long term on these aspects.
    • These may be linked to a city based economic model to quantify the likely cost in the event of occurrence of climate-led disaster in a megacity.
  • Accelerating the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and aligned with the other post-2015 agendas, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the New Urban Agenda and the Agenda for Humanity.
  • It is important to show examples of success all over the world that this is doable and with the mobilization and leadership of the most marginalized, with greater resources at local level for DRR and climate resilient sustainable livelihoods and with climate friendly policies and its strict implementation, the earth will be a more hospitable and peaceful place.
About UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR):
  • It is the flagship report of the United Nations on worldwide efforts to reduce disaster risk.
  • The GAR is published by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
  • It is the United Nations system’s focal point for disaster risk reduction and the custodian of the Sendai Framework, supporting countries and societies in its implementation, monitoring and review of progress.
Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
  • It focuses on the adoption of measures that address all dimensions of disaster risk – hazard, exposure, vulnerability and coping capacity – to prevent the creation of new risk, reduce existing risk and increase resilience.
  • It incorporates a strong focus on inclusiveness “through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, political and institutional measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and thus strengthen resilience.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • It sets out 17 SDGs and provides a comprehensive global policy framework towards ending all forms of poverty, hunger, inequalities among and within countries and tackling environmental degradation and climate change, while ensuring “no one is left behind”. 
  • The SDGs incorporate multiple Sendai Framework targets as well as climate change and sustainability targets.
Paris Agreement 
  • It steers action towards global climate change adaptation and the mitigation goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably to 1.5°C.
India’s Effort: National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR), 2013
  • It aims to bring together the whole range of India’s disaster risk community from Government, Parliamentarians, Mayors, Media, International Organizations, NGOs, local community representatives, scientific and academic institutions and corporate businesses etc.
  • It will help in sharing of experiences, views and ideas, present findings of research and action and explore opportunities for mutual cooperation in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • The output will offer a strategic direction and a road map for the formulation of our future National Action Plans on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) 
  • It was launched by Indian Prime Minister during the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, 2019, at New York with the support UNDRR.
  • It is a multi-stakeholder global partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks, the private sector, and academic institutions.
  • Aim: To promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development.
  • It supports countries to upgrade their systems to ensure disaster and climate resilience of existing and future infrastructure, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework.
  • Current Membership: 31 Countries, 06 International Organizations and 02 private sector organizations have become members of CDRI.
  • HQ: New Delhi, India.
 News Source: Report

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