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

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Chapter 13
As a result, if the expected outcome of the HFA, the substantial reduction in disaster losses, in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of countries and communities, is ever to be achieved, there is a growing consensus that the development drivers of risk, for example climate change, the overconsumption of natural capital, poverty and inequality will have to be addressed.
In order to do so, it is essential to manage disaster risks more effectively. However, this in turn implies reinterpreting the way disaster risk reduction has been approached and practised to date. Managing risk, and not just the disasters that arise from unmanaged risk, has to become the new normal in development practice. Otherwise, sustainable development will not be sustainable.
13.2 No Planet B
While income and energy consumption must rise in low-income countries to ensure social progress, beyond a given threshold rising income and energy consumption no longer correlate closely with social development. This shows that sustainable development is possible.
If the entire global population were to consume at the per capita average of the United States of America, the equivalent of four planets Earth would be required in order to provide the necessary biocapacity. Unfortunately, at this point in time there is only one planet Earth, which makes a development paradigm based on economic growth and which generates overconsumption and inequality untenable.
There is now a growing consensus about the need to move towards a low-carbon economy, which in turn implies transformation in other areas, for example in agriculture and urban development (Rockstrm et al., 2013). Implicit values about
development do seem to be changing, challenging and overturning deep-rooted assumptions about economic growth, social well-being and risk.
Global annual CO2 emissions are now approaching 5 tons per capita. Until very recently, the orthodox view was that increases in energy consumption have a positive and necessary impact on social and human development (von Hauff and Kundu, 2002

von Hauff, Michael and Amitabh Kundu. 2002,Energy Strategy for Sustainable Development Use of Renewable Resources and its Implications in India, India. .
). Similarly, it has generally been assumed that continuously increasing GDP is necessary for countries to achieve social wellbeing and human development. Both of those assumptions are now being overturned.
As Figure 13.1 shows, the relationship between increasing energy consumption and human development (as measured by the Human Development Index) is non-linear. At one end of the curve, even slight increases in energy consumption lead to major gains in human development. However, beyond a certain point the development gains from higher energy consumption are increasingly tenuous. For example, the consumption of CO2 in the United States of America (approximately 20 tons per capita) is nearly four times that of Switzerland, although both countries have similar levels of human development.
This example shows that human development and low levels of energy consumption are not incompatible. Currently the inflection point in the curve may be around the global average of 5 tons of CO2 per capita. This still implies emission levels which are far too high to address climate change and achieve sustainability, even though many low-income countries will still have to drastically increase their energy consumption in order to achieve viable levels of development. However, as energy efficiency increases and new technologies come on stream, it is likely that the inflection point will shift upward and to the left, offering higher levels of human development for lower levels of energy consumption.
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