International Day for Disaster Reduction Makes the Case for Climate Action

The United Nations has named October 13 International Day for Disaster Reduction, an opportunity for nations around the world to celebrate their successes in disaster relief and commit to taking additional action.

According to the UN, International Day for Disaster Reduction is designed to “acknowledge the substantial progress being made toward reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.”

Both man-made and natural disasters pose serious risks for many nations around the world, including those that are less economically developed. International Day for Disaster Reduction provides a chance to recognize the steps that countries of all economic levels are taking to manage their most urgent concerns, as well as to explore how the international community as a whole can help those most threatened by disaster.

The Sendai Seven

On June 3, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sendai Framework, a program that aims to reduce disaster risk and impacts on health and global infrastructure. From that framework came the so-called “Sendai Seven,” seven major goals spanning from 2015 to 2030 that aim to improve the world’s disaster preparedness strategies.

Briefly, those goals include:

  • reducing global disaster deaths by 2030, with an aim of producing a lower global average between 2020 and 2030 than that documented between 2005 and 2015
  • reducing the total number of people affected by disasters by 2030, with the aim of lowering the average global figure per 100,000 people over the same time period mentioned above
  • substantially reducing damage to so-called “critical infrastructure,” including power stations, hospitals and  major roadways, by 2030

The theme of this year’s awareness campaign is “Home Safe Home.”

Home Safe Home: climate change and disaster preparedness

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, around 24.2 million people were displaced as a result of disasters in 2016. Meanwhile, a new UN report estimates that global disasters have forced an additional 26 million people into poverty. 

Recent natural disasters include the catastrophic earthquake that leveled many parts of Haiti, the hurricanes that have devastated the Caribbean and parts of the U.S. and the wildfires currently raging in California.

The UN points to clear scientific evidence: Global climate change is exacerbating these disasters. As a result, these events are becoming more frequent — and, potentially, more dangerous.

According to Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Robert Glasser — and the UN report he has championed — urban populations exposed to hurricanes are estimated to more than double by 2050, increasing from 310 million to 680 million. The costs for dealing with sea level rise and flooding as predicted by climate models will also dramatically increase in the next 50 years, with an estimated figure that is about 10 times what we currently allow.

As such, Glasser contends:

It is apparent that delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will only be possible if we cut greenhouse gases as rapidly as possible in line with the Paris Agreement and reduce climate and disaster risk in accordance with the ambitious global targets agreed by Member States in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Essentially, if we want to reduce our risk of disasters at home, we must acknowledge climate change and take steps to mitigate its effects, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although the Trump administration continues its attempts to undo much of the progress achieved under Obama, state and local governments, together with big businesses, have joined forces to continue his legacy.

To protect national security, the U.S. must prioritize that work to truly meet its duties both to its citizens and to the global community.

Photo Credit: Revolution Messaging/Flickr

41 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Thank you

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Janis K
Janis K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo Custer3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Ann B
Ann B3 months ago

mother nature seems really mad!!!

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S3 months ago

Thanks

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Marija M
Marija M3 months ago

tks for sharing.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

Thanks.

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Aaron F
Past Member 3 months ago

Disaster RELIEF....disasters have always and will always continue to happen...naturally.

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