- Julio Serje, United Nations Global Assessment Report
- Andrew Maskrey, United Nations Global Assessment Report
The first UN-ISDR Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate (GAR09) was launched by the UN Secretary General in Bahrain on 11 May 2009.
GAR09 focused on the nexus between disaster risk and poverty, in a context of global climate change. It provided compelling evidence to show that both mortality and economic loss risk are heavily concentrated in developing countries and that within these countries they disproportionately affect the poor. Disaster impacts have persistent, long-term negative impacts on poverty and human development, which undermine the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It identified underlying risk drivers such as vulnerable rural livelihoods, poor urban governance and declining ecosystems that shape the relationship between disaster risk and poverty, and which are leading to increasing risk, even assuming a stable climate. It also showed how climate change will magnify the uneven social and territorial distribution of risk, increasing the risks faced by the poor and further amplifying poverty.
The GAR (main report and supporting background papers, in 4 languages) can be accessed at: http://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar
For the purposes of Understanding Risk, it is proposed that discussions and questions are concentrated on Chapters 2 and 3 of the Report.
Chapter 2 features a modelling of disaster risk patterns and trends at the global level, allowing a visualization of the major concentrations of risk and an identification of the geographic distribution of disaster risk across countries, trends over time and the major drivers of these patterns and trends. Given the growing influence of climate change, the centrepiece of this chapter is an analysis of the mortality and economic loss risk for weather-related hazards. In addition new insights have been gained into other hazards such as earthquakes, tsunami and drought.
Chapter 3 addresses risk patterns and poverty trends at the local level, where disaster risk reveals a complexity that is essentially invisible when observed from a global perspective, but which is critical to understanding both risk dynamics and disaster risk–poverty interactions. Chapter 3 makes use of National Disaster databases which contain impact and loss reports aggregated at the local government level of disasters of all scales.
The GAR Understanding Risk Group is proposed to have two main focuses:
a) a space in which the community can ask questions regarding the methodologies, data, process and other aspects of the GAR main report and case studies. Responses will be provided by the experts that worked on the report.
b) a discussion forum where the community can discuss the findings and recommendations of the GAR, suggest new courses of action, being in general a space in which GAR authors can hea