Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction 2019
This fifth edition of the United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR) is being issued four years after the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (Sendai Framework). Now is a time of heightened global urgency, and the need for ambitious collective action to reduce disaster risk, build resilience and achieve sustainable development has never been greater.
At no point in human history have we faced such an array of both familiar and unfamiliar risks, interacting in a hyperconnected, rapidly changing world. New risks and correlations are emerging. Decades-old projections about climate change have come true much sooner than expected. With that come changes in the intensity and frequency of hazards. Risk really is systemic, and requires concerted and urgent effort to reduce it in integrated and innovative ways.
Countries adopted the Sendai Framework in 2015 to address a broader scope of hazards and risks. The Sendai Framework charts a clear policy pathway for governments and citizens to prevent and mitigate shocks caused by natural and man-made hazards, as well as related environmental, technological and biological hazards and risks. In making the logical connection between reducing risk and building resilience, the Sendai Framework provides the connecting tissue for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Agenda for Humanity.
This edition of GAR is the first punctuation mark in the implementation of the Sendai Framework. It offers an update on progress made in implementing the outcome, goal, targets and priorities of the Sendai Framework and disaster-related Sustainable Development Goals. It provides an analysis of how risk science is changing, presents areas for additional endeavour, and explores aspects of understanding and managing systemic risk. It presents innovative research and practice for pursuing risk-informed sustainable development, and provides an introduction to the wider scope and nature of hazards and related risks to be considered.
This report represents a major step towards a twenty-first century view of risk and its reduction – an understanding that is imperative in our collective efforts to craft a sustainable future. We are fast approaching the point where we may not be able to mitigate or repair impacts from realized cascading and systemic risk, particularly those due to climate change. The urgency is evident. It demands much greater ambition around the speed and magnitude of the changes the global community needs to make; changes that must be proportionate to the scale of threat. Above all, we cannot let inertia and short-sightedness impede action. As we have been reminded recently by Greta Thunberg (the Swedish climate change activist): “There are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Now we all have a choice. We can create transformational action that will safeguard the future living conditions for humankind, or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.
That is up to you and me.”
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction