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

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Part III
are still largely determined by GDP per capita, the rate of GDP growth, credit ratings and shortterm return on capital rather than measures of sustainability and equity. The development paradigm continues to be based fundamentally on economic growth and is characterized by contradictions and unsustainable qualities, including the overconsumption of natural capital and the production of inequality.
Over the last quarter of a century, the global economy has doubled in size, an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded and the benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly: the bottom half of the world’s population now shares just 1 per cent of global wealth. Even in high-income countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being persist between rich and poor. As these trends evolve, the political and social consensus on the benefits of development is being replaced by growing uncertainty and unease, including concerns about increasing disaster risk.
Increasing exposure of economic assets
Global GDP per capita increased by 122 per cent between 1990 and 2010.3 As the economy becomes more global, investment tends to flow to locations offering comparative advantages for capital accumulation, including low labour costs, access to export markets, infrastructure, stability and other factors. As highlighted in GAR13 (UNISDR, 2013a

UNISDR. 2013a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: From Shared Risk to Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
), investment decisions rarely take into account the level of hazard in these locations or else discount the risk excessively due to the short-term profits that can be made. This has led to large flows of capital into hazard-prone areas and a vast increase in the exposure of economic assets to earthquakes, tsunamis, storm surges, floods and other hazards. At the same time, the resulting risk becomes globalized as both the causes and impacts of disaster ripple through global supply chains and impacts in increasingly integrated sectors spill over into others.
Growing risk inequality
The concentration of capital generates social and territorial inequalities. The richest 2 per cent of the world’s adult population now own over 50 per cent of global wealth (Davies et al., 2012

Davies, James, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony F. Shorrocks. 2012,Measuring the Global Distribution of Wealth, 2012 OECD World Forum New Delhi. 17 October 2012.. .
), whereas the bottom 50 per cent own less than 1 per cent of global wealth (Credit Suisse, 2013

Credit Suisse. 2013,Global Wealth Report 2013, October 2013. Zurich: Credit Suisse Research Institute.. .
). This ratio translates into a Gini coefficient of 0.893, where 0 is perfect equality and 1 is perfect inequality. In other words, the world is nearing what can be considered absolute levels of inequality (Davies et al., 2012

Davies, James, Rodrigo Lluberas and Anthony F. Shorrocks. 2012,Measuring the Global Distribution of Wealth, 2012 OECD World Forum New Delhi. 17 October 2012.. .
). Sectors and territories without comparative advantages for capital accumulation are left behind. In those areas, disaster risk is associated with an absence of development characterized by low levels of investment in risk-reducing infrastructure, an absence of social and environmental protection, and rural and urban poverty. The geography of risk inequality occurs at all scales, between geographical regions and countries, within countries and even within cities and localities.
Segregated urban development
Urbanization mirrors economic growth. Urban growth per se can concentrate risk when it occurs in hazard-exposed locations. However, in most low and middle-income countries it is also usually characterized by unequal access to urban space, infrastructure, services and security, as speculative urban capital is invested in modern enclaves while the low-income majority has access only to informal or sub-standard urbanization. Globally, about one in seven people live in overcrowded, low-quality housing conditions with inadequate access to services (Mitlin and Satterthwaite, 2013

Mitlin, Diana and David Satterthwaite. 2013,Urban Poverty in the Global South, Scale and Nature. USA and Canada: Routledge Publishing.. .
). This generates new patterns of both extensive and intensive disaster risk, as low-income households are forced to occupy hazard-exposed areas with low land values, deficient or non-existent infrastructure and social protection, and high levels of environmental degradation.
Climate change
Economic growth requires increasing energy
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