The world is experiencing an unprecedented moment of fragility and uncertainty. Climate-fuelled disasters are more frequent and intense, while the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interconnected and cascading nature of risk. The pandemic and its social and economic implications, on top of protracted conflict and climate-induced emergencies, have thrown back millions of people back into poverty and insecurity. According to the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2022, a record 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022 – a significant increase from 235 million people a year ago, which was already the highest figure in decades.
The impact of disasters on vulnerable populations threatens to increase humanitarian needs and to reverse progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction highlights the “link between relief, rehabilitation and development, [to] use opportunities during the recovery phase to develop capacities that reduce disaster risk in the short, medium and long term.” Reducing risks and applying a preventive approach is essential to ensuring that humanitarian interventions bring the relief they were intended to provide. Opportunities to ensure that humanitarian analysis, planning and action is risk-informed need to be systematically seized as countries affected by crises and protracted conflicts are among those most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.
Scaling up disaster risk reduction (DRR) in humanitarian and fragile contexts is critical as it complements emergency response with a focus on reducing exposure and vulnerability. DRR integration also helps to ensure that no one is left behind, as marginalization and social inequalities reinforce vulnerable populations’ exposure to disasters. Increased resilience will ultimately contribute to the wider goal of eradicating global poverty and exclusion.
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