By undertaking a collective exploratory mapping exercise of indicators of the SDGs and the SFDRR, we discuss the disconnect between the two sets of indicators, which highlights that the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s (UNDRR) definition of disaster does not match the approach to measuring disaster risk. Although the rhetoric of the SFDRR shows an appreciation of the root causes of risk, the measurement of progress (the data collected) towards DRR remains event/hazard-centric rather than being rooted in a vulnerability and development (root cause/risk creation) approach.

Moreover, the study shows that, while disaster risk data inform the SDGs, there is no mechanism by which development data inform the SFDRR. We argue that the measurement of disaster risk could be greatly enhanced by the integration of development data in future iterations of global DRR frameworks for action.

The SDGs reflect developmental challenges that contribute to root causes of disasters. This article locates the problematic nature of these approaches within the SFDRR. In the time since the framework’s implementation in 2015, duty-bearers around the world have worked to compile data according to the metrics devised, with the goal of reducing disaster risk. But disaster risk cannot be addressed without looking at root causes, and the rhetoric of the SFDRR does not filter through to the way it measures progress towards DRR, retaining an event- and hazard-centric approach to risk.