The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction was started in 1989, after a call by the United Nations General Assembly for a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Held on 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.
The event is an opportunity to acknowledge the progress being made toward reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health.
The 2021 event will focus on “International cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses”.
In the face of the cascading effects future risks might represent, good governance, appears as a key to a door that holds a more prosperous, resilient, and secure future. Many disasters can be avoided or prevented if there are disaster risk reduction strategies in place to manage and reduce existing levels of risk and to avoid the creation of new risk.
It has become clear over the last twelve months that international cooperation to developing countries is not keeping pace with the rise in extreme weather events and the tragic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The year 2021 promises to be a make-or-break year when it comes to delivering on the policy agenda agreed in 2015. Without real action on climate in the next ten years, extreme weather events will be overwhelming, especially for developing countries.
Most of the planet changed its view about the meaning of disaster. Not only because of the health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but because as the emergency unfolded, other risks had to be addressed and managed as well. COVID-19 has become a very clear example of what is meant by systemic risk.
Disasters impact low- and middle-income countries disproportionately, particularly in terms of mortality, numbers of people injured, displaced and homeless, economic losses (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product) and damage to critical infrastructure. We cannot eradicate poverty and hunger if we don’t step up investments in disaster risk reduction.
The pandemic recovery is a unique opportunity to restore balance with nature, tackle the climate emergency and create more sustainable and inclusive societies.
International cooperation is essential to ensure that no vulnerable people are left behind in disaster-prone settings, including women, children and youth, people with disabilities, the elderly, migrants, and indigenous people.