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

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improve the quality of the environment, generate employment and income, and reduce the risk of flooding due to garbage-choked drainage channels. Regenerating mangroves may also help regenerate fish stocks, enhance local fishing activities and protect coasts from erosion and storm surges. Providing well-sited land for new housing may reduce the cost of providing infrastructure and services as well as reducing disaster risk. Terracing hillsides may increase agricultural production and reduce landslide hazard.
This approach is very powerful because it leverages the underlying risk drivers themselves as instruments of sustainability. The energy present in floods, landslides and other local disasters can be transformed and used constructively as energy for sustainable development.
13.8Strengthening accountability
for risk management
As societies become more sensitive to the causes and consequences of disaster risk, responsibility for disaster losses and impacts can be subjected to social discourse and negotiation. Standards and transparent monitoring frameworks for risk accumulation and reduction can play an important role in this context.
Accountability for risk generation
It will only be possible to encode the full costs and benefits of disaster risk management into investment decisions, the financial sector, risk financing, social protection and local development if those responsible can be held to account for their decisions. If societies become more sensitive to both the causes and consequences of disaster risk, responsibility for the subsequent losses and impacts will become a societal issue that can be subjected to social discourse and negotiation. This can lead to strengthened accountability not only for realized disaster loss and impacts, but also for the generation and accumulation of future risks.
Accountability mechanisms of any kind depend on agreement regarding who should be accountable for what. Currently, the fact that disasters are still seen as exogenous shocks rather than unresolved development problems means that losses and impacts are attributed to the physical hazards or forces of nature rather than those who generate and accumulate risks. At the same time, accountability is rarely a straightforward issue. Responsibilities for risk generation may be complex or diffuse, involving actions by both public and private stakeholders over a number of years and including non-decisions and non-actions.
Due diligence
At the core of the issue of accountability is the question “Accountable for what?” Should accountability for disaster risks and losses be measured according to what was known and acted on, or should the corresponding responsibilities rather be judged on the basis of what could and should have been known? The latter is an understanding of accountability based on the principle of due diligence, and it has important implications for the use of risk metrics in public and private investment planning.
If the due diligence principle is applied, risk metrics not only become a tool for evaluating the costs and benefits of managing disaster risks, but can also serve as a form of indemnity in the case of disasters. This principle may have the potential to support a new framework for the rights of citizens and businesses with respect to disaster loss and risk.
However, it is necessary to ensure better access to the risk information used by those who make investment decisions, as this information can enable others, including citizens and local authorities, to make sense of the decisions taken.8 Currently, severe asymmetries in the generation and availability of risk information are associated with a lack of accountability at all levels. However, social media as well as other new
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