Important Topics: Managing Risks of Disasters for Sustainable Development


SDGsSustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Paris agreement on climate change cop-21 and Sendai Framework Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30) – all these three documents have many common grounds, and one such conjunction is climate change, development, and disaster.
  • Disaster management has evolved a long way with taking guidance from these documents and has shifted from managing events of disaster to managing the risks of disaster.
  • Disaster risk management has assumed critical importance for sustainable development as damage and losses due to disaster are spiraling despite the plethora of measures taken to reduce such losses.
  • India had its share of such damage and losses due to disasters.
  • The World Bank had estimated that the economic losses due to disasters during the late nineties and early years of this century were close to 2 % of GDP, whereas similar amount was not invested for public health in the country.

Disaster and Development

Disasters are intertwined with development in a three dimensional nexus:
1. Disasters eat away hard earned gains of development of years and decades.
2. Lack of development exposes vulnerable communities to the risks of disasters.
3. Ironically in an opposite direction, development creates new risks of disasters. For instance, House and infrastructure without compliance of zoning and building regulation are vulnerable or mining and industries in ecologically sensitive zones may destroy natural buffers to disasters, or fossil fuel based production and consumption enhance risks of climate related disasters.

From Disaster Management to Disaster Risk Management

How The Three Parallel Yet Inter Dependent Process Converged (Momentum)

1) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-30)

Sendai framework for the first time ever, defined a set of seven outcome based global targets of disaster risk reduction. This includes:-

  • Substantially reducing number of disaster mortalities and affected people.
  • Reducing direct economic loss and damages to critical infrastructure.
  • Increasing access to multi-hazard early warning system.
  • Enhancing international co-operation for disaster.
  • Understanding disaster risks
  • Strengthening risk governance to manage risks
  • Enhancing preparedness for effective response, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

2) Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030) adopted by UN, General Assembly, September 2015

These SDG's embedded disaster risk management can be seen in as many as 8 out of 17 SDG which as follows:

Sustainable Development Goals Targets on Disaster Risk Resilience
Goal-1: Ending Poverty in all its forms Target 1.5: Reduce exposure of the poor to climate related extreme events and disasters
Goal-2: Ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture Target 2.4: Strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters
Goal-3: Ensuring healthy live Target 3.6: Develop early warning and I reduce risk of health related disasters
Goal-4: Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education Target 4a: Build and upgrade educational facilities that are safe from disasters
Goal-9: Building resilient infrastructure Target 9.1: Develop quality and reliable infrastructure that are resilient to disasters
Goal-11: Making cities and human settlements safe, resilient and sustainable Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters
Goal- 15 : Reversing land degradation Target 15.3: Restore land affected by drought and floods

3) Paris Agreement on Climate Change signed in December 2015

The Agreement outlined eight specific action areas for enhancing' understanding, action and support' for disaster reduction. These include:
(a) Early warning systems;
(b) Emergency preparedness;
(c) Slow onset events;
(d) Events that may involve irreversible and permanent loss and damage;
(e) Comprehensive risk assessment and management;
(f) Risk insurance facilities, climate risk pooling and other insurance solutions;
(g) Non-economic losses; and
(h) Resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems.

Challenges & Opportunities

  • India played a crucial role in finalization of all these global agreements of 2015.
  • India Being 2nd largest population country and 6th largest economy has also largest number of people with abject poverty.
  • Therefore, India holds the key to achieving the global goals and targets of sustainable development and disaster resilience.
  • India has faced hydrological disasters like floods or cloudbursts (Uttrakhand, Srinagar & Chennai); geological disasters like landslides (Malin and North Sikkim); technological disaster like industrial or road accidents (Bhopal gas tragedy); and environmental disasters like depleting water resources, rising air pollution level (Delhi Smog 2016), Earthquake (2001).
  • But as and when with technological and scientific advancement, India is embarking on the pathway of rapid economic growth which is further expected to be propelled by initiatives likeMake in India, Skill India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Smart City Mission etc.
  • And, this provides opportunities for planning, designing and implementing the development projects in different sectors in manners that do not compound that risks but contribute to the process of mitigating the risks of disasters.
  • Further, implementation of Sendai Framework in conjunction with sustainable development goals and Paris Climate Agreement provide opportunities for addressing this hitherto neglected but challenging tasks of disaster risks management in India.


Implementation of the Sendai framework in conjunction with the sustainable development goals and Paris Climate Agreement provide opportunities for addressing the hitherto neglected tasks of disaster risk management in India. To address this task, what should be the measures taken in the light of these three global documents. Explain (200 words)

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