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UNDP Official Highlights Links between Disaster and Development

UNDP13 March 2013: In the latest “Our Perspective” publication from UN Development Programme (UNDP), Jo Scheuer, Coordinator of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Recovery, UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), has emphasized linkages between development and disasters, and recommending disaster be addressed in the post-2015 agenda.

In the piece, Scheuer explains how disasters can hinder or reverse development achievements, such as earthquakes or hurricanes destroying homes, infrastructure and livelihoods, as well as disasters resulting in local and global economic costs, which amounted to over US$380 billion in 2011. Scheuer also points out nuanced ways that economic development can worsen the impact of disasters, such as when a new highway facilitates the movement of people into a flood plain, increasing vulnerable to disaster, noting in sum that, “climate change, population growth and poorly planned urbanization are increasing future uncertainity.”

Scheuer's piece further highlights how disasters can impact the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting that the poor and marginalized are more vulnerable to disasters. He describes how earthquakes and floods can destroy crops, health centers and schools and drive populations into poverty, all of which can reverse development gains and hinder MDG achievement. He therefore stressed that “resilience to disasters must be central to the post-2015 agenda.”

Conflict, Violence and Disaster is one of 11 themes being discussed as part of the global thematic consultations on the post-2015 agenda. The consultation culminated in a High-level Meeting (HLM) on Conflict, Violence and Disaster and the Post-2015 Agenda, on 13 March 2013, in Helsinki, Finland. [Publication: Our Perspective[Conflict, Violence and Disaster Consultation Website] [IISD RS Coverage of HLM]