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

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that matter, mainstreaming poverty reduction, ecosystem protection or good governance are by definition still derived from the conception that disasters and climate change are externalities to be reduced rather than endogenous or internal characteristics of development.
Managing these internalities inside development is thus a very different approach to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction to protect against externalities. It implies that managing risks should be a defining characteristic of sustainable development. Managing risks—rather than disasters as indicators of unmanaged risk—now has to become endogenous to the DNA of development instead of an exotic add-on that needs to be mainstreamed.
Managing disaster risks requires three mutually supportive approaches or practices:
  • prospective risk management: preventing or avoiding the accumulation of new and future risks by making risk-sensitive development choices, including in disaster recovery and reconstruction;
  • corrective risk management: mitigating or reducing existing risks by investing in corrective measures, including early warning and preparedness; and
  • compensatory risk management: taking measures to support the resilience of individuals and societies in the face of residual risk that cannot be effectively reduced.
These three approaches support all three international agendas under negotiation in 2015: disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development (Table 13.1). Furthermore, they can facilitate the integration of these agendas through the understanding that both disaster risk and climate change are ultimately manifestations of unsustainable development.
Prospective disaster risk management is probably most closely aligned to the notion of sustainability. However, as stressed above, this is not just another way of saying mainstreaming. Instead, it points to the need to develop new parameters, principles and tools that transform existing thought and practice from within.
Maybe most importantly, while corrective and compensatory risk management can be interpreted within the current understanding and practice of disaster risk management, prospective risk management is far more disruptive of this paradigm, given that its effectiveness depends more on political than on financial capital.
The numbers add up
Managing the different layers of disaster risk through appropriate combinations of prospective, corrective and compensatory strategies is essential if the global AAL of US$314 billion, associated with earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and floods in the built environment, is to be reduced and if sustainable development is to
Table 13.1 Managing disaster risks to support disaster risk reduction, address climate change and promote sustainable development
(Source: UNISDR.)
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