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Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2009

Published 2009

This UN report is "the first biennial global assessment of disaster risk reduction prepared in context of the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)."

The foreward by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon states, "This first edition of the United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction is not only a comprehensive review and analysis of the natural hazards menacing humanity. It also provides new and arresting evidence on how, where and why disaster risk is increasing globally. That risk is highly concentrated in middle- and low-income countries, and is felt most acutely by people living in poor rural areas and slums. But of course, wealthier countries are not immune, as bush fires in Australia reminded us so tragically at the start of this year. The risk of disaster touches every woman, man and child on Earth. Drawing on detailed studies, this Global Assessment urges a radical shift in development practices, and a major new emphasis on resilience and disaster planning. Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, fires and other events, when combined with ‘risk drivers’ such as increasing urbanization, poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods and the decline of ecosystems, can lead to massive human misery and crippling economic losses. The risks posed by global climate change and rising sea levels carry additional grave implications for how we will live in the near future.

While we cannot prevent natural phenomena such as earthquakes and cyclones, we can limit their impacts. The scale of any disaster is linked closely to past decisions taken by citizens and governments – or the absence of such decisions. Pre-emptive risk reduction is the key. Sound response mechanisms after the event, however effective, are never enough."

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