Op Eds

People in Macau, queue up to acquire face masks in a pharmacy
The health crisis stress-tests our ability to cooperate, learn and adapt in the face of deep uncertainties and rising risks. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, was declared a “public health emergency of international concern” by the World Health Organization
With Cyclone Idai devastating Mozambique, Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for DRR, writes in this op-ed that the country should build resilience to prepare for worsening extreme weather associated with climate change.
Denis Onyodi: IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre
Collecting more and better data can go a long way towards improving our understanding of the magnitude of disaster displacement, and how we manage the risks and impacts. This understanding is a crucial part of efforts to reduce the amount of people affected by disasters.
© Office of the President, Republic of Palau
The upcoming Global Assessment Report 2019 will once again emphasise that reducing disaster risk also helps to reduce poverty and to safeguard development gains. It considers the systemic and pluralistic nature of risk: in multiple dimensions, at multiple scales and with multiple impacts.
In this op-ed, Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative for DRR, writes that disasters in urban areas can lead to high numbers of casualties and economic losses. But ensuring risk-informed infrastructure investments can help mitigate damages. In pursuit of resilience, an upcoming workshop in India will seek to create a global coalition for resilient infrastructure.
Cyclone Idai shows once more how the countries which contribute the least to climate change are the ones most affected by it. The levels of poverty in developing countries like Mozambique prevent them from investing significantly in resilient infrastructure and could hinder efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mining
Reflecting on Brazil's recent technical disaster, Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for DRR, writes in this op-ed that the fatalities and extreme environmental damage associated with tailings dam failures are avoidable. Inadequate risk governance is a key risk driver, and the mining industry must establish a zero casualty policy.
There is no economic loss data for 63 percent of the disasters recorded over the last 20 years, and low-income countries are lacking even more at 87 percent. Capturing loss data will help factor risk information into infrastructure investment decisions, and it will also drive planning at the national and local level to improve risk reduction strategies.
Tsunamis can wreak devastating impacts, with estimations that they average over 4,600 deaths per occurrence. These losses underline the importance of constantly raising awareness of tsunami risk and remaining vigilant, which is why it is now the custom to mark World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5 every year.
Climate change is a major multiplier of disaster losses worldwide. According to a new report by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, there has been a doubling of extreme weather events in the last twenty years, which have experienced some of the hottest years on record. Measures to adapt to climate impacts are just as important as cutting emissions.