Losses from disasters are a threat to people’s lives and development; disaster risk is accumulating in most regions. The scale of vulnerability and exposure to hazards, and the resulting demand for assistance and protection are projected to increase substantially over the next decades. This is due to a combination of climate risk, resource scarcity and drought, ecosystem degradation, livelihoods’ impoverishment, demographic changes, and limited capacities to manage risks from natural, technological and biological hazards, including epidemic diseases. Now, more than ever, disaster risk reduction must be integral to sustainable development.
This calls for a response by the UN that marks a step change in concerted action across all sectors; in the words of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) “build the resilience of nations and communities to disasters”. The UN must evolve and adjust its role and responsibilities to meet this changing and challenging risk scenario among complex and competing priorities.
A higher level UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience is required. Accelerated action is needed for the remaining term of the HFA. Such action will also encourage the development of a successor or post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction (HFA2) . Many of the commitments in the Plan of Action therefore reflects core needs to 2015 and sets a base to scale-up efforts once the successor is determined.
In the “Future We Want”, adopted at the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in 2012, member states requested for disaster risk reduction to be more central to sustainable development policies and plans. The post-2015 development agenda is also consulting on and considering the impact of disasters and the need to build resilience . The UN Secretary-General committed to work on disaster risk reduction as part of his second mandate and its Five-Year Action Agenda. The UN Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience aims to position the work of the UN in these contexts.
The Plan of Action outlines the purpose, a set of core commitments and actions, a shared approach to measure impact and progress, and steps for implementation. The Plan of Action also embraces the international momentum to use “resilience” as a common outcome that integrates poverty reduction, disaster risk reduction, sustainable livelihoods and climate change adaptation, as integral to sustainable development.