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

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Sustainable development cannot be
achieved unless disaster risk is reduced.
GAR at a Glance
Between 1980 and 2012, 42 million life years were lost in internationally reported disasters each year. (The concept of “human life years” provides a better representation of disaster impact, as it provides a metric describing the time required to produce economic development and social progress.)
Over 80 per cent of the total life years lost in disasters are spread across low and middle-income countries, representing a serious setback to social and economic development comparable to diseases such as tuberculosis.
( → Part I )
If this risk were shared equally amongst the world’s population, it would be equivalent to an annual loss of almost US$70 for each individual person of working age, or two months’ income for people living below the poverty line: an existential risk for people already struggling for survival on a daily basis.
It also represents a significant opportunity cost for development, as these resources could be used to make investments in infrastructure, social protection, public health and public education.
( → Chapter 3 )
Expressed as a proportion of social expenditure, expected annual losses in low-income countries are five times higher than in high-income countries. The countries with the greatest need to invest in social development are those most challenged by disaster risk. ( → Chapter 3 )
This is a problem not only for low-income countries, but for middle-income countries like Jamaica and the Philippines and for high-income countries like Greece. Although countries like Jamaica and Greece have far lower relative risk compared to the Philippines, the overall impact on future development will be very similar. While economic growth will be mainly undermined in Greece, the challenge facing the Philippines is one of social development. ( → Chapter 5 )
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