UN to set resilience goals

1st April 2015

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  • Adaptation


Catherine Retberg

The post-2015 sustainable development goals that are due to be adopted in September will include targets to reduce the risk for loss of life, livelihood and critical infrastructure from disasters.

It follows the agreement struck on disaster risk reduction at a UN conference in Sendai, Japan.

The framework calls for actions to protect populations and promote quick recovery, as well as prevent new risks, such as those caused by ill-planned urban growth in areas subject to flooding, landslides and effects of climate change.

“The adoption of the framework for disaster risk reduction opens a major new chapter in sustainable development as it outlines clear targets and priorities for action which will lead to a substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihood and health,” said Margareta Wahlström, head of the UN office for disaster risk reduction.

The document warns that disasters, many of which are exacerbated by climate change and are increasing in frequency and intensity, significantly impede progress towards sustainable development. It calls for more dedicated action on tackling underlying disaster risk drivers, such as the consequences of climate change, unplanned and rapid urbanisation, poor land management, complex supply chains, unsustainable use of natural resources and declining ecosystems. “Addressing climate change represents an opportunity to reduce disaster risk in a meaningful and coherent manner,” states the agreement.It also advises governments to strengthen the sustainable use and management of ecosystems, and to implement integrated environmental and natural resource management approaches that incorporate disaster risk reduction.

The Sendai accord replaces the 2005 Hyogo framework for action. The UN said Hyogo had helped to reduce disaster risk at local, national, regional and global levels, but conceded that, over the past 10 years, disasters had continued to exact a heavy toll. Since 2005, disasters had resulted in more than 700,000 people losing their lives, with approximately 23 million being made homeless, it said. Overall, more than 1.5 billion people had been affected by disasters in various ways during the past decade, with total economic losses estimated at more than $1.3 trillion.


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