The UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 Pre-Launch Dialogue 3: Impact, trends and pathways to systemic risk governance – why traditional approaches and institutions must evolve

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United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction


15:00 - 16:00 CET


In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the hottest decade on record, there is growing momentum to change how the global community manages risk. Despite commitments to build resilience, tackle climate change and create sustainable development pathways, current societal, political and economic choices are doing the reverse. This jeopardizes not only achievement of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, but also hinders progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To change course, new approaches are needed. This will require transformations in what governance systems value and how systemic risk is understood and addressed.

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. This became evident as 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 SDGs cannot be achieved. Human action is creating greater and more dangerous risk and pushing the planet towards existential and ecosystem limits. The costs of disasters are felt across almost all areas of sustainable development. As the world urbanizes, risk is being concentrated in densely populated areas, many of which are not designed to withstand their current levels of hazard exposure, let alone those anticipated as a result of climate change. Risk reduction, therefore, needs to be at the core of action to accelerate climate change action and achieve the SDGs.

Systemic risk cannot be eliminated entirely, but it can be reduced and addressed more effectively, building on existing risk reduction know-how, and developing enhanced approaches to address its characteristics, such as its cascading effects and inherent complexity and uncertainty. The best defence against future shocks is to transform systems now and to build resilience by addressing climate change and reducing the vulnerability, exposure and inequality that drive disasters. An aspect of risk which is often remains unaddressed are the indirect impacts of disasters that can have wide-ranging cascading impacts on other aspects of structural or social inequality. For example, research shows that violence against women and girls increases in the aftermath of disasters. At the extreme end of the scale, this takes the form of intentional homicides. Governance systems can evolve to reflect the interconnected value of people, the planet and prosperity, by reworking financial and governance systems to account for the real costs of current inaction to address risks like climate change. Without this, financial balance sheets and governance decision-making will remain fragmented and be rendered increasingly inaccurate and ineffective.

Objective of the webinar

The GAR 2022 Pre-Launch Dialogue 3 - ‘Impact, trends and pathways to systemic risk governance – why traditional approaches and institutions must evolve’ features authors behind parts 1 and 3 of the GAR. It will unpack the current and future trajectories of impacts, disasters pose on sustainable development, human well-being, and the planet and why the risk management and development planning systems worked towards fixed time frames, for known outcomes in contexts that were largely stable and linear or were assumed to be, which overlooked complex vulnerability and social inequality. It will further discuss how the complexity of today’s world and the destabilization of global ecosystems through climate change and other direct human impacts require that twenty-first century institutional cultures must become more agile and flexible, addressing the challenges for the economy, environment and equality simultaneously.


  • Dr. Roger S. Pulwarty, Senior Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Physical Sciences Laboratory 
  • Dr. Franz Gatzweiler, Executive Director of the ISC global programme on “Urban Health and Wellbeing: a Systems Approach”
  • Mr. Alonso Brenes, Coordinator of the Network for Social Studies on Disaster Risk Prevention in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Dr. Animesh Kumar, Head of the UNDRR Office in Bonn, Germany
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