Improving our understanding of disaster risk

 

GENEVA, 13 October 2017 - The United Nations today launched new guidelines to encourage more countries to undertake national disaster risk assessments and to link them closely with policy and investment processes in order to take better preventive action to reduce disaster deaths and the soaring numbers of people displaced every year by floods, storms, drought and earthquakes.

The Guidelines for National Disaster Risk Assessment are being launched today on International Day for Disaster Reduction which is celebrated worldwide on October 13 every year.

“Many disaster prone parts of the world are struggling to deal with the complex interplay of risk drivers including poverty, population growth, rampant urban growth, destruction of the environment and climate change. National disaster risk assessments are a vital part of any modern state’s economic planning and investment strategy,” said Mr. Robert Glasser, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The newly published Guidelines for National Disaster Risk Assessment (NDRA) are the result of the collaboration between over 100 leading experts from national authorities, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, research institutes and private-sector entities and are an important contribution to reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters which is the theme for this year’s International Day. 

They are a major contribution towards implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan for reducing disaster losses adopted by UN Member States in March 2015, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan.

The NDRA Guidelines focus on the Sendai Framework’s first priority for action – understanding disaster risk – which is the basis for all measures related to reducing disaster risk and is closely linked to the other three priorities for action strengthened governance, investment in disaster risk reduction and building back better.

They affirm that “A holistic risk assessment that considers all relevant hazards and vulnerabilities, both direct and indirect impacts, and a diagnosis of the sources of risk will support the design of policies and investments that are efficient and effective in reducing risk.”

A key challenge identified by the authors is ensure that decision-makers use the available information in policy design and investment to avoid the creation of new disaster risk, reduce existing levels of risk and manage the risk that cannot be avoided.

The Guidelines are intended to motivate and guide countries in establishing a national system for understanding disaster risk that is integrated with policy development mechanisms and would act as the central repository of all publicly available risk information.

This national system would lead the implementation and updates of national disaster risk assessment for use in disaster risk management, including for risk-informed disaster risk reduction strategies, climate change adaptation and development plans.  

5th Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2017 5th Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in May 2017.
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