Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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by disaster losses and impacts, and how they can enhance performance and reputation by minimizing uncertainty and unpredictability. By underlining the interdependence of the public and private sectors, the report demonstrated why effectively managing disaster risks in both sectors is critical to competitiveness, sustainability and resilience, and why it is necessary to adopt a broader approach to value creation that also addresses the underlying drivers of risk.
Each GAR produced detailed sets of recommendations. While these were specific to the theme of each report, they can be summarized as two mutually supportive streams, brought into increasing focus as they flowed through the three reports: (1) address the underlying drivers of disaster risk to avoid risk generation and accumulation, and (2) strengthen the governance of disaster risk in order to be able to do so.
GAR15 focuses on the second of these streams and presents the case for a broad reinterpretation of disaster risk reduction. As the HFA draws to a close, GAR15 questions whether the way in which disaster risk reduction has been approached under the HFA is really fit for purpose in a world now threatened by catastrophic increases in disaster risk.
In Part I of GAR15, new evidence on contemporary patterns and trends in disaster risk is presented in order to assess the extent to which the expected outcome of the HFA has been achieved. Parts II and III examine whether the way disaster risk reduction has been approached is appropriate to address an increasingly accelerated generation and accumulation of disaster risks. The concluding chapter shows why the focus of disaster risk reduction needs to move from managing disasters to managing risks if it is to contribute to making development sustainable.
Disaster risk still on the rise
GAR15 comes at a critical time for disaster risk
reduction. The expected outcome of the HFA has only been partially achieved. Twenty-five years after UN Member States adopted the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) and ten years after the adoption of the HFA, global disaster risk has not been reduced significantly. While improvements in disaster management have led to dramatic reductions in mortality in some countries, economic losses are now reaching an average of US$250 billion to US$300 billion each year.
More critically, both the mortality and economic loss associated with extensive risks in low and middle-income countries are trending up. Internationally, extensive risk is a largely invisible risk layer. Nevertheless, it is a central concern for the low-income households and small businesses that depend on public infrastructure and for the local governments that provide it.
Presented using a different metric, around 42 million human life years are lost in internationally reported disasters each year, a setback to development comparable to diseases such as tuberculosis. Disaster risk continues to be disproportionately concentrated in low and middle-income countries, in particular in small island developing states (SIDS), and is being magnified by climate change.
Meanwhile, the average annual losses (AAL) from earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and river flooding are now estimated at US$314 billion in the built environment alone. The AAL is an accumulating contingent liability and represents the amount that countries should be setting aside each year to cover future disaster losses.
Protecting development against itself
Since the HFA was adopted, there has been an exponential increase in political commitment to disaster risk reduction, in the development of institutional and legislative arrangements, in improvements in preparedness and early
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