The magnitude and impact of disasters on lives, livelihoods and ecosystems are on the rise, setting back hard-won development gains in many parts of the world. These impacts are reducing the ability of nations and communities to cope with future disruptions as new combinations of stressors, including changes in the climate, are occurring faster than projected. Natural and socio-natural hazards are interacting more frequently with technological and biological hazards, and the effects of environmental change is producing more complex risk patterns, including compounding and cascading impacts, creating the possibility of more disasters. These trends are exacerbating known risks, creating new ones or revealing submerged risks. Typically, traditional thinking places disaster risk reduction as an add-on to climate adaptation. However, successful adaptation – and many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – will be impossible to achieve without greater capabilities for disaster risk reduction being supported across multiple scales.

In short, risks are outpacing our capacity to anticipate, manage and reduce the impact of disasters as they cascade through people’s lives, livelihoods, built infrastructure, environments and socio-economic systems.

Key recommendations

  1. Strengthen territorial level risk governance in regions and at the local
    level that addresses the drivers of risk across sectors.
  2. De-fragment finance to align investment with risk reduction goals at
    global, regional and local scales.
  3. Develop community-led nature-based solutions to enhance the
    protection of natural buffers that reduce risks and achieve co-benefits
    for sustainability.
  4. Develop multi-hazard early warning systems to anticipate and reduce
    the impacts of disasters and cascading risks across timescales.
  5. Develop integrated information systems to monitor the depletion
    of natural resources ahead of dangerous thresholds to support
    anticipatory action and prospective risk reduction.
  6. Evolve traditional risk assessment and improve methods for risk
    identification, mapping and reporting as to increase transparency, and
    as key inputs for early warning, risk management and infrastructure
    siting and design.
  7. Pilot new ways of communicating risk information and its implications
    for risk management and sustainable development.
  8. Develop a cadre of genuinely transdisciplinary professionals to expand the interface between science, policy and practice.

This report is a contribution on behalf of the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group to the Mid-Term Review of the Sendai Framework led by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction .