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

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now surpassed the biocapacity of the planet, breaching the limits of critical planetary systems and threatening human survival. Many ecosystems that provide vital protective and provisioning services are being degraded beyond the point of recovery, while changes in temperature, precipitation, sea level and other factors due to global climate change are modifying hazard patterns and magnifying disaster risks. These risks are unequally distributed, as sectors and territories with high levels of income live beyond their means, consuming environmental resources and exporting risks to and importing them from other areas.
Disaster risk reduction at a crossroads
In 2015, three mutually supportive intergovernmental processes will come to a conclusion. In March 2015, at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, UN Member States are expected to adopt a successor framework to the HFA. This new framework will guide how countries should achieve the policy goal of disaster risk reduction in the coming years.
The main outcome of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by September 2015, which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and converge into the post2015 development agenda.
The Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 11) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol will be held in Paris in December 2015, with the objective of reaching a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change among all countries.
These three processes are closely interrelated. Growing disaster risks, climate change as well as poverty and inequality are all indicators
of unsustainability. At the same time, increasing disaster loss and impacts, magnified by climate change, will undermine the capacity of many low and middle-income countries, particularly small island developing states (SIDS), to make the capital investments and social expenditures necessary to achieve the SDGs.
In this context, disaster risk reduction is at a crossroads: It can continue to focus on managing an increasing number of disasters or it can shift the focus to managing the underlying risks in a way that facilitates sustainable development.
Making development sustainable
If an accelerated increase in disaster risk is to be avoided, there is a growing consensus that the development drivers of risk, such as climate change, the overconsumption of natural capital, poverty and inequality will have to be addressed. Implicit values with regard to social and economic development do seem to be changing, challenging and overturning deep-rooted assumptions about economic growth, social well-being and disaster risk. The understanding that beyond a given threshold social progress and human development are not dependent on unlimited economic growth and increasing energy consumption is now increasingly well accepted and is informing the global discussion on sustainable development.
The private sector, citizens and cities have generated increasing momentum to transform development practices in renewable energy, water and waste management, natural resource management, green building and infrastructure, and sustainable agriculture. These development transformations contribute to reducing disaster risks: for example, moving to a low-carbon economy reduces the risk of catastrophic climate change; protecting and restoring regulatory ecosystems can mitigate a variety of hazards; and risk-sensitive agriculture can strengthen food security. All editions of the GAR have consistently
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