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

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Chapter 13
Making development sustainable
As the global community moves towards establishing objectives and targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which for the first time will be framed for universal application, there is an urgent need to reinterpret disaster risk reduction so that it weaves and flows through development as a set of mutually supportive approaches and practices. Without effective disaster risk management, sustainable development will not be sustainable and the SDGs will not be achieved.
Disaster risk reduction can be achieved. Decades of experience in managing disasters and reducing climate and disaster risk have produced a wealth of knowledge and good practice which can be applied within social and productive sectors and which make good financial sense.
13.1 The need for change
Accumulated disaster risk now directly challenges the capacity of many countries to make the capital investments and social expenditure required to achieve sustainable development.
Apart from overconsumption and inequality, the current development paradigm also generates and accumulates disaster risk, which has impacts in three different dimensions.
Firstly, public and private investment decisions that fail to take hazards into account may generate risks, losses and impacts for those who made the investments, as companies such as Toyota discovered to their cost during the 2011 Chao Phraya River floods in Thailand.
Secondly, and as multiple examples from this report and previous editions of the GAR have shown, those risks, losses and impacts are often not borne by the risk takers but are instead transferred to other social sectors or territories. This is the case, for example, in speculative urban
developments that may increase flood risks for households in informal settlements in other areas of a city.
Thirdly, and as exemplified by climate change and the destruction of biodiversity, other risks are transferred to the commons. As a consequence, the different planetary systems on which all people depend for survival are now at risk, a scenario in which there are ultimately no winners.
As such, the world is moving beyond an equilibrium state, be it in social, economic, political or environmental terms. Models of the future are characterized by increasing uncertainty, as outliers beyond the boundaries of what can be expected are becoming the new normal.
The worst-case implications are kata-strophe on a global scale, as overconsumption overwhelms the biocapacity of planetary systems, while rapidly increasing and unevenly distributed disaster risk erodes the resilience of those most in need of development. Accumulated disaster risk now directly challenges the capacity of many countries to make the capital investments and social expenditure which will be required to achieve sustainable development.
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