Reducing risk of future disasters: priorities for decision makers

This report offers a strategic overview of the present and future potential of science to inform and enhance disaster risk reduction (DRR) over the next three decades. It considers disasters whose primary causes are natural hazards. Its focus is on disasters that occur in developing countries, but lessons from past disasters in developed countries are also drawn upon. It explores the diversity of impacts, and the extent to which these are, or should be, considered by decision makers but does not review in detail the scale of past and present disasters.

The hazards considered include those that are rapid-onset such as major earthquakes, volcanoes, floods and hurricanes and those that are slow-onset such as droughts and infectious disease epidemics. They are divided for ease into hydrometerological (storms, floods and droughts), geophysical (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and tsunami) and biological (disease outbreaks in human, plants and animals). While the focus is on those hazards that cause the majority of mortality and economic loss, the conclusions of the report are applicable to a wider range.

The work has involved the direct input and advice of some 200 independent leading experts and stakeholders. As such it presents an independent view, and does not represent the policies of the UK Government or any other government.