The central question for this Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GAR2022) is how governance systems can evolve to better address the systemic risks of the future. In today’s crowded and interconnected world, disaster impacts increasingly cascade across geographies and sectors, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and climate change are rapidly making clear. Despite progress, risk creation is outstripping risk reduction. Disasters, economic loss and the underlying vulnerabilities that drive risk, such as poverty and inequality, are increasing just as ecosystems and biospheres are at risk of collapse. Global systems are becoming more connected and therefore more vulnerable in an uncertain risk landscape. Such systems include ecologies, food systems, supply chains, economies and social services. Local risks, like a new virus in Wuhan, China, can become global; global risks like climate change are having major impacts in every locality. Indirect, cascading impacts can also be significant. For example, many countries felt the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic months before ever registering a single case of the disease. Without increased action to build resilience to systemic risk, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved.
The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 highlights that:
- The climate emergency and the systemic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic point to a new reality. Understanding and reducing risk in a world of uncertainty is fundamental to achieving genuinely sustainable development.
- The best defence against future shocks is to transform systems now, to build resilience by addressing climate change and to reduce the vulnerability, exposure and inequality that drive disasters.