United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) releases the “Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR)” biennially. It is the flagship report of the United Nations on the worldwide effects to reduce disaster risk. The GAR monitors risk patterns and trends, including progress in disaster risk reduction, while providing strategic policy guidance to countries and the international community. The report is prepared in collaboration and consultation with various stakeholders, including UN agencies, academic and research institutions, governments, technical institutions and specialists.
About the UNDRR Global Assessment Report 2022
UNDRR released the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GAR 2022) on 26 April 2022, ahead of the “Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction” in May 2022.
This sixth edition of the United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction is titled “Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future“.
The GAR 2022 explores how the governance systems around the world are evolving to address the systemic risks of the future. The report shows how governance systems can grow to reflect the Interconnected value of people, the planet and prosperity.
The GAR 2022 offers valuable recommendations to reduce risk and increase resilience.
Overview of the structure of the GAR 2022
- “Part I: The Challenge” lays out the challenges that the global community is not on track to reducing risk. The “case study: COVID-19 and Systemic Risk” explores how the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need to better understand and act in the face of systemic risk.
- “Part II: The role of biases and communication in risk reduction” looks at why the decision-making around risk reduction and addressing systemic risks is so suboptimal. It describes how a better understanding of human decision-making about risk can be used to accelerate effective action.
- “Part III: Towards a more resilient future” focuses on what needs to happen to accelerate risk reduction. It focuses on recent advances in modelling systemic risk. It outlines how, in the face of global systemic risks, governance systems must quickly evolve and recognize that the challenges of economy, environment, and equality can no longer be separated.
- The “final case study: Food System and Systemic Risk” explores the need for action in food systems.
- The GAR 2022 concludes with a “Call to Action” to accelerate risk reduction, better address systemic risks, and build a safer and more resilient world for today and future generations.
Key Highlights of the Global Assessment Report 2022
The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 highlights that:
- The climate emergency and the systemic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic point to a new reality.
- Understanding and reducing risk in a world of uncertainty is fundamental to achieving sustainable development.
- The best defence against future shocks is to transform systems now and to build resilience by addressing climate change and reducing the vulnerability, exposure and inequality that drive disasters.
GAR 2022: The Challenge
- Human action is creating greater and more dangerous risks, pushing the planet towards existential and ecosystem limits.
- If current trends continue, the number of disasters per year globally may increase from 400 in 2015 to 560 per year by 2030, a projected increase of 40% during the lifetime of the Sendai Framework.
- For droughts, there is a large year-on-year variation. The current trends indicate a likely increase of more than 30% between 2000 and 2030.
- The number of extreme temperature events per year is also increasing. Based on current trends, it will almost triple from 2001 to 2030. These trend lines do not take into account the future climate change impacts, nor the fact that current choices mean the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s global average maximum temperature increase target of 1.5°C by the early 2030s.
- Disasters have negative impacts on biodiversity and environmental sustainability. The impacts of disasters extend further to the social and ecological systems.
- Over the past three decades, the average annual direct economic loss from disasters has more than doubled. Moreover, the poor are more exposed to disasters even within high-risk countries.
- The costs of disasters are felt across almost all areas of sustainable development.
- As the world urbanises, the risk is being concentrated in densely populated areas, of which some areas are not designed to withstand their current levels of hazard exposure.
- The indirect impacts of disasters can have wide-ranging cascading effects on other aspects of social (or structural) inequality. Research shows that violence against women and girls increases in the aftermath of disasters. At the extreme end of the scale, this takes the form of intentional homicides.
- There is a strong relationship between poverty and disaster risk. Within high-risk countries, the percentage of poor households exposed to disasters is more as compared with the non-poor households.
GAR 2022: Call to Action
The ideas presented in GAR 2022 are intended to inspire action and innovation at local, national, and international levels to safeguard development and the planet’s future. To accelerate the essential risk reduction and resilience building, the GAR 2022 calls for action to:
- Measure what we value;
- Design systems to factor in how human minds make decisions on risk;
- Reconfigure governance and finance systems to work across silos and design in consultation with affected people.
Measure what we value
Current measurements are too focused on the short term and fail to consider the cascading impacts or transboundary risk. The world is not on track to reducing risk. The costs of disasters are increasing in both social and economic terms, which threatens sustainable development. Balance sheets ignore the key variables, particularly undervaluing climate change risks, costs to ecosystems and the positive social benefits of risk reduction. The real costs of extensive risk are especially undervalued, and this gap is widening as major climate change impacts such as sea-level rise gather pace.
To help “Measure what we value”, key actions are to:
- Rework financial systems to account for the real costs of risk, particularly long-term risks.
- Rework investments and insurance systems to incentivize risk reduction.
- Adapt national fiscal planning and risk financing to consider risk and uncertainty.
Design systems to factor in how human minds make decisions about risk
Policymakers and providers of disaster risk reduction products and services to households & communities continue to undervalue how risk perceptions, including cognitive biases, influence decision-making.
- Recognize the role of people’s perceptions of risks and biases to close the gap between intention and action in reducing risk.
- Recognize the value of risk analytics as a tool but not a panacea.
Reconfigure governance and financial systems to work across silos and design in consultation with affected people
Governance and financial systems are not yet embracing transdisciplinary approaches and tend to take top-down approaches.
- Embrace a new “risk language” that cuts across multiple disciplines.
- Step up participation, transparency and citizen dialogue in risk decision-making to accelerate learning and necessary adjustments.
- Enhance multi-scale risk management.
What is ‘UNDRR’?
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) was set up in December 1999 to ensure the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
UNDRR is formerly known as United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). It built upon the experience gained during 1990-1999. The decade 1990-1999 had been designated as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.
Its headquarter is in Geneva, Switzerland.
UNDRR oversees the implementation and review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, supporting countries in its implementation, monitoring and sharing what works in reducing existing risk and preventing the creation of new risk.
What is the ‘Sendai Framework’?
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30) is an international document adopted by the United Nations Member States at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai (Japan) in March 2015. The Framework was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in June 2015.
The Sendai Framework is a 15-year voluntary people-centred approach to disaster risk reduction, succeeding the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015).
What are the priorities of the Sendai Framework?
Sendai Framework includes four specific priorities for action, which are:
1. Understanding disaster risk;
2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and “Building Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.