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The Geneva-based WMO is working with organizations such as the World Bank to roll out the early warning systems, with Morocco among countries being used as a benchmark.
The Geneva-based WMO is working with organizations such as the World Bank to roll out the early warning systems, with Morocco among countries being used as a benchmark.

Natural Disasters Cost Global Economy $520b p.a.

Last year, 445 million people were affected by disasters linked to natural hazards worldwide, 8,000 people lost their lives and direct economic losses from major disaster events were estimated at $138.8 billion

Natural Disasters Cost Global Economy $520b p.a.

Opening a major United Nations conference on risk reduction in Cancun, Mexico, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed cautioned that the world would not reach its development goals without tackling climate change and disaster risk.
“Human and economic losses from disasters cannot continue at current levels if we are going to progress with the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said, UNISDR reported Thursday.
Held every two years since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to discuss disaster reduction, the 2017 Global Platform–the fifth such event to date–is bringing together some 6,000 heads of state, policy makers, disaster risk managers, civil society and other participants.
This is the first international summit on disaster since the Sendai Framework, which was adopted in 2015 in the northern Japanese city after which it was named, and consists of seven targets and four priorities for action that aim for the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.
Last year, 445 million people were affected by disasters linked to natural hazards worldwide including floods, storms, earthquakes and drought, 8,000 people lost their lives and direct economic losses from major disaster events were estimated at $138.8 billion.
The World Bank estimates that the real cost to the global economy from disasters is $520 billion per year and that they push 24 million people into poverty annually.
“The challenge is how we are going to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if annual economic losses from disasters can wipe out the entire GDP of a low income country overnight and force millions from their homes,” Mohammed said.
She noted that Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and the Pacific, have all agreed and adopted plans to implement the Sendai Framework “with a clear focus on shifting the paradigm from managing disasters to managing disaster risk.”
She emphasized that this is vital in order to progress on key targets of the Sendai Framework including reducing mortality, reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters, reducing economic losses and reducing damage to critical infrastructure–all points that are also integral to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Earlier in the day, UN secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, Robert Glasser, welcomed participants and said he hoped the gathering would provide “great momentum” to efforts to make this a safer and more resilient world.

Early Warning Systems
Governments of 100 countries still lacking disaster early warning systems have a duty to invest in the projects, which could save lives and property, and reap longer-term economic benefits, the UN's meteorological agency said.
With vulnerable countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands among those still without early warning systems, the World Meteorological Organization said better disaster preparedness could help governments improve farm outputs, boost safety in sectors such as shipping and transport, and protect people.
"The money that we invest in the met (meteorological) service, you get it back tenfold in terms of economic benefits," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at the end of a two-day conference on early warning systems.
Early warning systems cost between $10 million and $100 million, depending on the size of the country. The Geneva-based WMO is working with organizations such as the World Bank to roll out systems, with Morocco among countries being used as a benchmark, Taalas said.
The Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference was held ahead of a UN disaster risk reduction conference, which started Wednesday and continued until Friday.
Robert Glasser, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said the cost of natural disasters is skyrocketing, fuelled by increasing climate change and a lack of risk awareness in economic development, with people building in high risk areas such as flood zones.
"Even though often the human impact of conflict and conflict displacement is prominently in the press, actually the displacement from natural disasters is far greater and often unreported as well," Glasser said, pointing to smaller-scale disasters that often go unnoticed by the media.

 

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