2012 Asia-Pacific Disaster Report Highlights Vulnerability of SIDS

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 (DRR).

The 133-page report underscores that growing 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 includes a section on the vulnerabilities of small economies, focusing on small island developing States (SIDS), and specifically Maldives. It underscores the need for SIDS to be prepared for the compounding effects of external shocks, so as to allow them to adjust their macroeconomic policies in a timely manner. On the importance of landuse planning, the report highlights in the context of SIDS, the importance of the Low Emission Climate Resilient Development (LECReD) initiative currently being pursued by the one UN programme.

The report also 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]