The G20 countries, with a population of 4.7 billion, have large exposure, risk from asset concentration, and vulnerability to natural disasters. In the current World Risk Index, four out of the top 10 vulnerable countries are G20 nations.


Importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Mechanisms

  • To Prevent Huge Losses — The combined estimated annual average loss in the G20 countries alone is $218 billion, equivalent to 9% of the average annual investment in infrastructure made by them. DRR measures can play an important role in preventing such losses.
  • To Realise Economic Ambitions — Disasters can set back development gains. Hence, risk reduction is an important strategy if a country’s economic ambitions are to be realised.


How can “Risk Reduction” be achieved?

  • Reducing risk can be achieved mainly by reducing vulnerability and exposure to risk through measures such as —
      • Better economic and urban development choices and practices.
      • Protection of the environment.
      • Reduction of poverty and inequality, etc.
      • Setting up early warning systems.
      • Undertaking periodic risk assessment.
      • Constructing disaster-resilient infrastructure.
  • For example, in India, effective implementation of flood risk management strategies can help in reducing and managing extreme weather conditions.


India’s efforts towards reducing risk under its G20 Presidency

  • India has highlighted the importance of DRR by initiating a new workstream in G20.
  • Five priorities have been outlined in the first meeting of the working group.
      • Coverage of early warning systems to all,
      • Focus on disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure,
      • Improving financing frameworks for national DRR,
      • Improving systems and capabilities for response to disasters and,
      • Application of ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk.
  • India has endorsed a new working group on DRR — Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group (DRRWG) that has recognised the importance of prioritising disaster risk financing.


What should be G20’s Future Programme in Risk Reduction Management?

  • Re-imagining financing DRR —
      • The financing requirements flowing through government budgets are not independent of a country’s fiscal position and hence may be limited.
      • Innovative financing tools including creating reserve funds, dedicated lines of credit and tapping resources globally should be explored.
      • Infrastructure, such as roads, rails, airports, and electricity lines created through public revenues need to be resilient to disasters and may require more funds incrementally.
      • There is a need to finance this additionality using options that are reflective of the social benefits of such disaster-resilient infrastructure.
  • Targeted approaches to reducing losses from extensive risk events —
      • A large portion of the losses occur due to extensive events such as heatwaves, lightning, local floods, and landslides.
      • Implementing targeted approaches to reducing losses from extensive risk events, can have an impact in the short to medium-term horizon.
  • Convergence of DRR and climate change adaptation efforts —
      • The development of analytical and implementation capacities for DRR will help climate change adaptation efforts as well.
      • For example, building flood-management structures under DRR strategies will have synergies with adaptation efforts.
      • Similarly, the effectiveness of adaptation measures should be measured against their DRR potential.
  • Access to early warning systems —
      • It should be treated as global public goods, with all populations irrespective of their economic strength, having reliable access to systems such as cyclone early warning.
      • The UN Secretary General’s initiative on ‘Early warning for all’ should be the guiding principle.
      • The G20 can show the way by setting up a suitable mechanism to ensure that the call for a universal early warning system is implemented in practice.
  • Treat DRR as a multi-tiered, multi-sectoral effort —
      • If efforts are integrated vertically from local to sub-national to national to global, and horizontally across sectors, the level of readiness to manage unknown risks may be high.
      • The world is interlinked and interdependent, and the G20 can help develop such strategy.


SourceThe Indian Express


QUESTION – Discuss the significance of the G20 nations’ efforts in disaster risk reduction, highlighting the vulnerabilities faced by G20 countries and the strategies proposed for risk reduction.