Today the United Nations released a Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. In it’s preface the report sets out:
Drawing on detailed studies, this Global Assessment urges a radical shift in development practices, and a major new emphasis on resilience and disaster planning. Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, fires and other events, when combined with ‘risk drivers’ such as increasing urbanization, poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods and the decline of ecosystems, can lead to massive human misery and crippling economic losses. The risks posed by global climate change and rising sea levels carry additional grave implications for how we will live in the near future. While we cannot prevent natural phenomena such as earthquakes and cyclones, we can limit their impacts. The scale of any disaster is linked closely to past decisions taken by citizens and governments – or the absence of such decisions. Pre-emptive risk reduction is the key. Sound response mechanisms after the event, however effective, are never enough.