The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has become the worst human and economic crisis of our lifetime, with the death toll exceeding 1 million1 by the end of September. It is causing serious disruption to progress made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The COVID-19 disaster demonstrates that risk is more systemic than ever in a connected globalized world. No country, community or sector is immune, and what was initially presented as a health disaster quickly became a socio-economic disaster with long-term impact, highlighting the urgent need for a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach towards risk-informed recovery.
As tragic as they are, risk and crisis often provide opportunities for transformation, and these opportunities must be seized. The global response to COVID-19 is already providing critical lessons that can shape future disaster risk reduction policies and action worldwide.
In mid-March 2020, as the magnitude of the pandemic became evident, UNDRR responded through a COVID-19 engagement strategy, contributing to the whole-ofUnited Nations effort to respond to the pandemic: by tackling the health emergency; addressing social impact and economic response; and supporting recovery.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) is a blueprint for reducing risk and building resilience. Our COVID-19 engagement strategy and its activities have been aligned with the bi-annual 2020-2021 Work Programme. The focus has been to promote evidence, knowledge and learning on the COVID-19 pandemic for more effective disaster risk reduction policy and practice as well as ensuring a better and more resilient recovery for those most affected.