Investing in Resilience: Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future

Publication | January 2013

This report focuses on the steps required to ensure that investment in disaster resilience happens and that it occurs as an integral, systematic part of development.

Natural hazards continue to cause significant loss of life and have significant social and economic consequences for people in Asia and the Pacific. Yet, these losses are far from inevitable. There is a wide range of tools and mechanisms available to assess, reduce, and manage risk, covering a vast array of legislative, regulatory, policy, planning, institutional, financial, and capacity-building instruments. Moreover, there is increasing public awareness of the need to strengthen disaster resilience at all levels of society as a critical component of efforts to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development and poverty reduction.

This report offers an approach and ideas for reflection, inviting readers to consider how we can ensure that the actions that we know are required to strengthen resilience are actually taken. It is primarily aimed at investors in the public sphere, namely governments and their development partners.

'We hope this publication will inspire governments, in collaboration with their development partners, to paint their individual visions of a resilient future in keeping with their particular disaster risk and other development challenges.'

Bindu N. Lohani
Vice-President, Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, ADB

The report is not a manual or handbook and deliberately does not present prescribed courses of action. Instead, it establishes a vision of a resilient future and equips investors with a framework and ideas to identify practical actions that will result in the realization of that vision.

The vision shows how resilience can be accomplished through the coordinated action of governments and their development partners in the private sector, civil society, and the international community. It stresses the interconnectedness and complementarity of possible actions to achieve resilience across a wide range of development policies, plans, legislation, sectors, and themes.

Critical Next Steps

The report identifies eight critical next steps toward strengthened resilience, building on the gaps and challenges identified in the report:

Policy Change

  • Governments can review and, where appropriate, revise disaster risk management legislative and regulatory frameworks to clarify and explicitly articulate the precise roles and responsibilities of individual households, communities, the private sector, governments, and the international community in strengthening resilience.

Risk Assessment

  • Governments can ensure that some form of disaster risk assessment is undertaken for all new investments in their countries, whether financed directly by a government, via support from the international community, or privately.

Financing

  • National and subnational governments can develop and implement comprehensive disaster risk financing strategies to reduce risk and to provide adequate and timely post-disaster support to strengthen financial resilience.
  • Governments, in cooperation with the international community, can encourage the growth and development of the insurance and reinsurance sectors in their countries and generally provide for a range of disaster risk financing instruments.
  • Governments, in cooperation with the international community, can establish public programs of financial support for community and local investment in risk assessment, risk reduction, and residual risk management.

Private Sector Engagement

  • Governments, working in cooperation with the international community, can develop programs of work to strengthen private sector understanding and appreciation of the commercial opportunities in strengthening resilience.

Knowledge Management

  • Governments and regional associations, working in cooperation with the international community and private sector partners, can establish an open-source, regional, online information platform to facilitate the development, exchange, and dissemination of hazard and risk data, including climate change modeling.
  • Governments and regional associations, working in cooperation with the international community, can establish a regional knowledge-development and capacity-building program to strengthen understanding across government and the wider society of the potential returns on investments in risk assessment, risk reduction, and residual risk management.

Contents 

  • Foreword
  • Executive Summary
  • Disasters and Development: Instruments and Mechanisms for Strengthened Resilience
  • Visions of the Future: Overcoming Gaps and Obstacles
  • Financing Residual Risk
  • Achieving Resilience
  • References and Glossary