The United Nations recently released the 2022 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. “Human action is creating greater and more dangerous risk, and pushing the planet towards existential and ecosystem limits,” said the report.
The authors dive into how governing bodies can reduce these risks and cope with the potential disasters coming our way.
U.N. predicts that worldwide disasters will get worse: The GAR 2022 report stated that the world saw about 400 disasters a year in 2015. If current trends continue, we could see about 560 disasters a year by 2030.
- “The number of extreme heat waves in 2030 will be three times what it was in 2001 and there will be 30% more droughts, the report predicted. It’s not just natural disasters amplified by climate change, it’s COVID-19, economic meltdowns, and food shortages. Climate change has a huge footprint in the number of disasters,” according to reporting by The Associated Press.
- The cost of disasters has gone from about $70 billion a year in 1990 to more than $170 billion a year in 2022, according to the U.N.
What counts as a disaster? The U.N. defines a disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope with using its own resources.”
- An example that is used frequently within the report is the COVID-19 pandemic and the current climate emergency.
- The report states that these events have pointed the world to a “new reality,” and that risk prevention is needed to lessen the effects of these potential hazards.
The importance of disaster-risk management: In order to protect the public against disasters, governing bodies must have prevention and management plans put into place, according to the report. The report was created to alert policymakers of potential risks, and educate them on actions they can take.
- Disaster-risk management is defined by the U.N. as “the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills/capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities; in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards, and the possibility of disaster.”
- “If we don’t get ahead of the curve it will reach a point where we cannot manage the consequences of disaster. We’re just in this vicious cycle,” Mami Mizutori, the chief of the U.N. Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, told the AP.