Asia-Pacific is the most disaster prone region and most seriously affected by natural disasters of many types: floods, droughts and meteorological, seismic, geological, maritime and ecological disasters, as well as forest and grassland fires. Many member States of ESCAP are developing countries that are vulnerable to disaster hazards. Over the past decade about 2.5 million people in the region have been affected by disasters and almost 800,000 people killed.
Beyond this, the people of Asia and the Pacific are often hit by multiple, successive shocks not only from regular natural disasters, but other economic impacts such as sudden food and fuel price rises. Those affected and the coping strategies adopted during a time of crisis is often the same. With the risk of climate change exacerbating disaster risk, it is necessary for countries to consider long term strategies to build resilience into their development planning across various sectors.
Among the major objectives of DRR section is:
- Policy options and strategies on multi-hazard disaster risk reduction and mitigation
- Regional cooperation mechanism for disaster risk management, including space and other technical support systems
- Multi-hazard assessment, preparedness, early warning and response to disaster risk
- Building resilience to natural disasters through mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into the development agenda of countries
The programs related to disaster risk reduction are guided by the Hyogo Declaration and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document "The Future We Want". During the 96th Session of the Commission, Asian and Pacific countries adopted resolution 69/12 on Enhancing regional cooperation for building resilience to disasters in Asia and the Pacific.
These mandates recognize the need integrate disaster risk reduction into development strategies to achieve sustainable development and alleviate poverty. They also recognize the importance of strengthening regional initiatives and mechanisms for building the capacity for disaster risk reduction.