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Integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework

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Introduction

Disasters triggered by natural, biological and technological hazards, and further exacerbated by climate extremes and slow onset events, annually affect a growing number of people, ecosystems and economies.

From 2005 to 2015, disasters caused USD 1.4 trillion in damage, killed 700,000 and affected 1.7 billion people. Economic losses are rising, and climate change is increasing the frequency and magnitude of a range of climate-related hazards. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people in urban areas exposed to cyclones will increase from 310 million to 680 million people, while the number of people at risk of major earthquakes will increase from 370 million to 870 million.

Without significant investment in resilience-building, these impacts threaten to not only decelerate but in extreme cases derail progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and realizing the 2030 Agenda.

Progress towards sustainable development and peaceful societies is undermined by natural, biological and technological hazards that are intensified by persistent risk drivers such as climate variability and change, inequality, poverty, gender inequality, demographic pressures, unplanned urbanization and weak governance. The rapid spread and unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has demonstrated how disasters create ripple effects throughout the systems that hold societies together and drive development. Even in the absence of a major disaster, accumulating and co-existing risks can unleash cascading impacts across sectors, triggering crises with devastating impact on those already left furthest behind. Managing climate and disaster risks in conflict and displacement situations becomes particularly important to prevent exacerbation of vulnerabilities and erosion of resilience.

Enhancing disaster resilience, preventing climate and disaster-related risks, and protecting those left furthest behind require moving beyond business as usual and engaging all of society in climate and disaster risk management.

The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 concluded that annual global investment of USD 6 billion in appropriate disaster risk management strategies would generate total benefits in terms of risk reduction of USD 360 billion. As demonstrated by the inclusion of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement in the 2030 Agenda, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are vital strategies for achievement of the SDGs These strategies, however, cannot be pursued in siloes and must be applied across the 2030 Agenda to leverage existing sectoral funding and unlock public and private investment in climate and disaster risk management at all levels of society.

The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework provides an opportunity for the United Nations development system to demonstrate the value of climate- and disaster risk-informed development to accelerate SDG progress in the decade of action.

The UN Prevention Agenda, the Sendai Framework all-of-society approach, national climate commitments, and the real-time analytical function of the Common Country Analysis all create entry points for risk-informing the Cooperation Frameworks and pursuing national and local partnerships that unleash capacities and financing.

This Guidance Note helps UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in formulating and implementing Cooperation Frameworks that support countries, communities and people in using climate and disaster risk management approaches to build disaster resilience.

It is one among a larger library of supporting documents to the Cooperation Framework Guidance, and is best read alongside the Cooperation Framework Companion Package. This Guidance Note supplements the UN Common Guidance on Helping Build Resilient Societies by providing guidance on how to address climate and disaster risk as one of many dimensions to resilience, within the specific context of the Cooperation Framework cycle.