Work starts on a new Global Assessment Report

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
(from left) At the GAR Advisory Board meeting in Geneva yesterday, Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Unit, Mami Mizutori, head of UNISDR, and Ricardo Mena, Chief, Sendai Framework Implementation Branch, UNISDR
(from left) At the GAR Advisory Board meeting in Geneva yesterday, Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Unit, Mami Mizutori, head of UNISDR, and Ricardo Mena, Chief, Sendai Framework Implementation Branch, UNISDR

GENEVA, 21 March 2018 - A new Advisory Board convened yesterday to discuss the direction and content of the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report for Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR19), the UN flagship publication which first appeared in 2009.

The GAR is a comprehensive review and analysis of disaster risk and risk management published every two years. The last full GAR edition was launched in March 2015 at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan and looked at how to make development sustainable. In 2017, the GAR Risk Atlas was launched at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico.

“This first meeting of the GAR Advisory Board marks the beginning of the next phase in the development of the GAR process,” said Mami Mizutori UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction on opening the meeting with 22 experts from multiple disciplines.  

“The GAR will not only assess the status of global disaster risk but also what it means for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said, emphasizing that ‘no development will be sustainable if it is not risk informed.”

The GAR will detail the progress made by countries on the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the global plan for reducing disaster losses including substantial reductions in mortality, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure.

One chapter will be devoted to global Target (e) of the Sendai Framework which aims to “substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.”

Other topics that will be covered relate to the progress on the development of a Global Risk Assessment Framework and an introduction to man-made hazards and related environmental, technological and biological hazards that were included in expanded scope of hazards defined by the Sendai Framework.

Patrick Kangwa, Deputy-Secretary, the Cabinet Office of the Government of Zambia said: “The GAR should speak to governments and ministers and not to disaster risk reduction experts if we want to see more risk informed investments in the future.” Many participants stressed the fact that the GAR should be a tool to stimulate behavioural change, guide political action and drive government agendas.    

Having received little attention in previous editions, several GAR Advisory Board members recognized the importance of including  drought risk and food security recommending the creation of a sub-committee to determine how best to address this complex issue.

 “I am pleased to see that we have made so much progress since the GAR 2009 on these drought issues,” said Aromar Revi from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements.

The substance of GAR19 will now be defined on the basis of the recommendations of the Advisory Board.  UNISDR will then issue a call for papers for contributory research which will be considered in drafting.  A zero order draft will be produced for peer review in November, with publication and launch at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction that will take place in Geneva in May 2019.

“I would like to remind everyone of the urgency of our work and the importance of having the necessary information that will help realise risk informed behaviour and investment.   Between 2005 and 2015, disasters killed 700 000 people, injured over 1.4 million with economic losses exceeding USD 1.4 trillion”, said Mami Mizutori.  “We invite you to think about innovative ways of integrating disaster risk reduction within other global, regional, national and local efforts for climate change adaptation, sustainable development and peace and security to develop resilient societies and futures for all.”

The following is a list of those who participated in the GAR19 Advisory Board meeting either in person or remotely:

Dolika Banda, Africa Risk Capacity Ltd., Kelvin Berryman, Natural Hazards Division, Government of New Zealand, Wadid Erian, League of Arab States, Arab Centre for the Study of Aridity and Desertification, Peter Head, Ecological Sequestration Trust, Molly Jahn, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Agronomy, Francisco Jimenez, INEGI - Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Government of Mexico, Patrick Kangwa, Deputy Secretary, Cabinet Office, Government of Zambia, Allan Lavell, Latin American Social Science Faculty, IRDR, Malini Mehra, GLOBE International, Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Juan Pablo Sarmiento, Florida International University, Youba Sokona, Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, The South Centre, IPCC, Alex Wittenberg, arsh&McLennan Companies, Paula Caballero, World Resources Institute (WRI), Rowan Douglas, Willis Towers Watson, Paolo Garonna, Association of Italian Insurers (ANIA) + Professor of Political Economy, Heide Hackmann, ISC, Kamal Kishore, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India, Shuaib Lwasa, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University / IPCC, Holly Ransom, Emergent, Barbara Ryan, Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and Mark Way, The Nature Conservancy.

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