Issue brief: disaster risk reduction and sustainable development

This brief addresses the increasing recognition by governments that the reduction of disaster risks is a foundation for successful sustainable development and highlights that disaster risk is a crosscutting issue requiring action across multiple sectors. It proposes an overview of: (i) the increasing disaster impacts and the downward spiral; (ii) the underlying risk factors; (iii) the disaster risk process and risk management, including the post-2015 framework planned to succeed the Hyogo Framework for Action; (iv) the linkages with climate change; and (v) the targets and indicators.

It then links disasters and sustainable development by asserting that: (vi) disaster events undermine poverty eradication; (vii) disaster are linked to unsustainable growth; (viii) disasters and inequality are linked; (ix) impacts for small developing countries are magnified; (x) disaster impact on cities; (xi) globalisation leads to cascading risk; (xii) disaster impacts extend widely; (xiii) economic impacts and hazard and development status are linked; (xiv) development opportunities involve risks; (xv) the private sector has a role; (xvi) broad economic policy can reduce disaster risks; and (xvii) good humanitarian intervention can link to resilience.

Finally, it reviews the status of disaster-related goals, targets and indicators, assessing: (xviii) the existing capabilities; (xix) the links to the UN disaster reduction strategy; (xx) expert workshop; (xxi) hazards, exposure and losses; (xxii) vulnerability and resilience; (xxiii) risk measures development; (xxiv) indicators of disaster risk reduction action; and (xxv) the uncertainty of loss events.

The brief is intended to inform and contribute to discussions by the United Nations Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals for its seventh session, which will take place in New York on 6-10 January 2014, and which will address disaster risk reduction. It has been prepared by an ad-hoc international group of experts drawn up by IRDR and headed by Prof. Mark Pelling of Kings College London.