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

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Chapter 13
is empowering precisely because most extensive risks are “manageable” and can be addressed through relevant and effective public policies and private action.
Awareness of extensive risk does not in itself lead to transformation. Citizens, households, small businesses and local governments often accept and retain high levels of disaster risk because of highly constrained access to the assets and resources required to reduce those risks. However, a message that centres on aspects of prosperity, choice and quality of life rather than on notions of avoided deaths, vulnerability reduction and cost savings may be able to link substantive individual desires and social needs to the management of risk, even in contexts where development choices are highly constrained.
Risk knowledge and changing values
This perspective also has implications for current efforts to boost public awareness, education and risk information, which tend to reflect and reinforce the orthodox conception of disasters as external threats to development. Rather than revealing opportunities or empowering actions to change development practices, these efforts actually dissimulate the drivers that generate and accumulate risk in the first place. Shifting the emphasis from awareness of disasters as external events towards the process of risk generation and accumulation in development is therefore critical.
The importance of incorporating this approach into formal and informal education and into public awareness campaigns with a particular focus on children and young people as well as taking advantage of social media and new technologies for visualization cannot be overstated. As awareness gradually shifts from disaster losses and impacts to the underlying drivers of risk, a vision of a different way of practising development could gradually emerge, as could effective ways and means of addressing the risk drivers.
13.7 Assessing the costs and
benefits of managing disaster risks
Understanding the costs and benefits of managing disasters will become a key tool for future success. This means understanding and measuring the trade-offs implicit in decisions; their benefits in terms of reduced poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, economic development and social progress; and who retains the risks, who bears the costs and who reaps the benefits.
Encoding disaster risk metrics into public and private investment
Disaster risk management always weighs risk against opportunity and future threats against current needs. A second way in which the management of disaster risks can be enhanced is by ensuring that the associated costs and benefits are fully encoded into public and private investment at all levels, into the financial system and into the design of risk-sharing and social protection mechanisms.
All development decisions, whether they are related to capital investment, social expenditure or environmental protection, have the potential to either reduce or increase risks. Risk metrics are critical to inform such decisions and to identify the costs, benefits and trade-offs implicit in each decision.
If demand were led by governments, business-
es and a financial sector concerned with sustainability and competitiveness, risk metrics could then cease to be an exotic commodity generated inside a self-contained risk assessment community. These metrics could become integrated as a normal part of government, business planning and decision-making processes.
Accessible and transparent probabilistic risk estimates are critical for assessing the costs and
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