There is a growing recognition globally that development is crucial to reducing vulnerability to disasters, but it is also a major driver of disaster risk. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) identifies rapid urbanization as a key concern in this context, as it concentrates large populations in what are often high-risk areas, such as coastlines, with the poorest people often in slums.

In the Asia-Pacific region, for example, the average number of people exposed to yearly flooding more than doubled from 1970 to 2010, from 30 million to 64 million. Urban areas are now home to 46% of the population, and half a billion live in slums, in precarious dwellings without access to safe water or sanitation. When disasters strike, the impacts on them can be devastating.

This SEI Initiative on Transforming Development and Disaster Risk (TDDR) seeks to integrate disaster risk reduction around the world with equitable, sustainable and resilient development by transforming the relationship between development and DRR. It will carry out context-specific research on a range of environmental risks, aiming to generate knowledge to support changes in governance, policy and practice.

The goal is to improve understanding of how risks are created and how they accumulate, recognizing that disaster risk and development are closely interlinked. The role of climate change is another key consideration, as it poses additional layers of risk and may complicate future DRR efforts.

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