The United Nations recently released the 2022 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. “Human action creates greater and more dangerous risks and pushes the planet towards existential and ecosystem limits,” the report states.
The authors look at how governing bodies can reduce these risks and deal with the potential disasters that come our way.
The UN predicts that global disasters will get worse: The GAR 2022 report indicates that the world experienced around 400 disasters per year in 2015. If current trends continue, we could see around 560 disasters per year by 2030.
- “The number of extreme heat waves in 2030 will be three times higher than in 2001 and there will be 30% more droughts, predicts the report. It’s not just natural disasters amplified by climate change, it’s COVID-19, economic crises and food shortages. Climate change has a huge footprint in the number of disasters,” according to an Associated Press report.
- The cost of disasters has risen from about $70 billion a year in 1990 to more than $170 billion a year in 2022, according to the UN
What counts as a disaster? The UN defines a disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or society resulting in widespread human, material, economic or environmental loss and impact, which exceeds the capacity of the affected community or society to cope with the help of its own resources”.
- A frequently used example in the report is the COVID-19 pandemic and the current climate emergency.
- The report says these events have steered the world towards a “new reality” and that risk prevention is needed to mitigate the effects of these potential hazards.
The importance of disaster risk management: In order to protect the public from disasters, governing bodies must put in place prevention and management plans, according to the report. The report was created to alert decision makers to potential risks and educate them on the actions they can take.
- Disaster risk management is defined by the UN as “the systematic process of using administrative guidelines, organizations and operational skills/capacities to implement improved coping strategies, policies and capacities; to reduce the adverse effects of hazards and the possibility of disaster.
- “If we don’t get ahead of the curve, we will reach a point where we cannot manage the consequences of a disaster. We are just in this vicious circle,” Mami Mizutori, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, told AP.