The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to adopt a systemic approach to disaster risk in the Caribbean, says UNDRR and ECLAC report
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released today the report entitled The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: an opportunity for a systemic approach to disaster risk for the Caribbean, which outlines the systemic nature of disaster risk and how it generates complex interactions between human, social, political and economic systems on the one side, and natural systems on the other.
The report expects an economic shock to cause a greater income inequality in all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. If ECLAC growth forecasts are correct, even in the absence of new debt, the Caribbean’s average debt-to-GDP ratio will increase to 74.6% in 2020.
The document also proves how the current pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of today's development models and their limitations, both globally and in the particular case of Latin America and the Caribbean. The complexity of these scenarios, the report adds, calls for an approach that surpasses traditional, compartmentalized methods of disaster risk reduction. It also points out that, in order for efforts to reduce these impacts to be effective, it is essential to abandon the simplistic model that ignores the systemic characteristics of extreme hazards.
“Now is the time for multi-stakeholder dialogue and action to understand and manage systemic risk. Progress towards risk-informed sustainable development will only be accelerated by incorporating systems-based approaches into the design of policies and investments across all sectors and regions, and at all levels”, said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Mizutori added that “this report is an urgent call to strengthen regional integration and cooperation for effective regional governance for disaster risk reduction and socio-economic recovery”.
“After the emergency has passed, a renewed commitment is needed, to move towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the central principles of which are increasingly relevant: the need for a sustainable development model and the interdependence of its social, environmental and economic dimensions”, added Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC.
On Tuesday, March 16, UNDRR also published the Regional Assessment Report on Disaster Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean (RAR), which underscored specifically the systemic nature of risk, as well as the importance of intersectorality, conceptual advances in disaster risk reduction, urban planning, the strengthening of international cooperation and the scope of good governance.
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