The second Wednesday of October each year is set-aside for the International Day of Disaster Reduction. This year it falls of the 8th Oct. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness, internationally, of the ongoing importance of disaster risk reduction.
A year like 2008 only highlights the urgency of this need. This year will probably go down in history as a year with one of the highest numbers of victims of natural catastrophes (Munich Re).
The largest number of events ever recorded in one year, was 960 in 2007. Most of these were weather related and generated US$ 82bn of losses. This year is following the same long-term trend towards more weather related catastrophes,thought to be influenced by climate change. Add to the mix the current global economic downturn and dynamic pressures such as population growth, environmental degradation, rapid urbanisation and the figures look set to get worst, rather than better.
Nearly four years into the UN Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), progress in developing countries at the local level, in terms of lives saved, people protected, and livelihoods secured has been slow. Although there have been improvements, the resources deployed are simply not enough to deal with the enormity of the problem. Resources are also disproportionally distributed, therefore leaving many of the poorest and most vulnerable out of the loop.
Political will is no longer enough. If the promises of the HFA are to be realised by 2015 then there needs to be a re-evaluation of the changing risk environment and how and where resources are deployed, to ensure adequate protection for the most number of people. It is time to start listening to local voices and for different actors to come together to work collaboratively.
This report contains a number of case studies from around the world. Together with the short film project ' Local voices, global choices' they highlight what can be achieved when local voices are respected and different actors come together to form strategic partnerships to work collaboratively to reduce disaster risks.