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UNISDR, UNESCAP Release 2012 Asia-Pacific Disaster Report

23 October 2012: The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) have released the ESCAP/UNISDR Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012, titled “Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters.” The report was released on the sidelines of the Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The 133-page report underscores that increasing disaster risks in the Asia-Pacific region are driven by the increasing exposure of its people and economic assets, and the inability of the most vulnerable groups to cope with disasters. According to the report, over the last 40 years, the average number of people exposed to annual flooding in Asia has doubled, and now stands at over 68 million.

The report finds that small farmers, micro enterprises and poor households bear the brunt of the costs of disasters in many developing countries. It stresses that the very likely disruptive consequences of a changing climate magnify these conditions of risk in vulnerable areas. It also highlights some positive developments as a result of improved disaster risk management, including that despite greater frequency of disasters and increased damage to property and livelihoods, the death toll from disasters such as typhoons, floods and landslides in some subregions is decreasing.

The report notes that both policies seeking to reduce risks and adapting to climate change are becoming more integrated into long-term development plans in the region. However, while more than a third of the countries surveyed have explicitly considered both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) in their respective long-term development strategies, frequently these professional domains have been treated separately.

The report includes chapters on: scaling up vulnerability reduction; the role of disaster risk governance in reducing vulnerability and exposure to hazards; reducing disaster exposure; harnessing innovative technologies; and the way forward on reducing disaster risk vulnerability and exposure in Asia and the Pacific. The report's recommendations include: building a common framework between DRR and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); setting targets and expanding social safety nets to reduce vulnerability; and the promotion of peer learning through regional institutions.

The Fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is convening from 22-25 October 2012, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. [UNISDR Press Release] [Publication: The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012: Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters] [ESCAP Press Release]