* Summary and Arab language versions available in the download area
In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), the Paris Agreement of 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (Sendai Framework, or SFDRR) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) of 2016, Arab States identified preventing new risk, reducing existing risk and strengthening resilience as central to regional efforts to realize sustainable development pathways in the twenty-first century.
Inspired by recent developments in the risk and development agendas, including growing uncertainty in estimating vulnerability and risk – partly due to complex, cascading and emerging systemic risks – and against increasing regional conflict, fragility, displacement and climate change, the Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS) of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) embarked on an ambitious endeavour to develop a Regional Assessment Report in 2021 (RAR-Arab States). This sought to provide an understanding of the risks and progress in risk reduction in the region, and highlight the key issues and challenges. Such an understanding is essential to Arab States’ efforts to meet the 2030 Agenda target of achieving sustainable development and building inclusive resilient cities, in part, by adapting to climate change and reducing disaster risk, while leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first. A risk-informed approach to development is essential to ensure the sustainability of investments and efficient resource use. This is particularly pertinent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when countries, including Arab States, are suffering from fiscal constraints due to the slowdown in the global economy, coupled with rising unemployment and increased demand on public revenues due to the increased need for social protection.
This is a first attempt to bring together disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA), urbanism and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) topics in a coherent manner in the region, albeit from a DRR perspective. It accounts for emergent approaches and risks, recognizing the large degree of uncertainty characterizing the period we live in, and the associated cascading and systemic risks within and across natural, health, financial, environmental, economic and social systems. It is envisaged this will signal the beginning of a process of RAR reports, with those in the future focusing on priority regionspecific areas identified in this RAR. While this work has a regional scope, the RAR-Arab States recognizes that risk management requires global cooperation and risk governance mechanisms, given the interdependency of systems.