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7 From managing disasters to managing risks, reducing existing risks
  1. Mette Lindahl Olsson
  1. Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB and Former Swedish Secondment as Program Officer to the UNISDR, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Europe Office in Brussels


We live in an urbanising, complex world with a rapidly changing climate. To reduce vulnerability and to protect inhabitants from current and future risks we all face the challenge of building resilience. If vulnerable elements as population, property, infrastructure or environment come in the way of events caused by nature or human activity it can cause serious negative consequences and disasters. The vulnerability of society in the face of disasters, especially caused by natural events, is expected to increase. Collaboration on all levels, nationally and internationally, between sectors and actors working with land use planning, risk management, infrastructure planning, health, disaster management and climate adaptation is a pre-requisite to reduce underlying risk factors and enhance society´s ability to cope with hazards and risk.

It’s clear that disaster risk reduction is an investment, not a cost. Studies show that every dollar invested into disaster preparedness saves seven dollars in disaster aftermath.

In March 2015 at the third World conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan a clear shift in focus from disaster management to disaster risk management was agreed with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. UNISDR is the UN Focal Point for Disaster Risk Reduction and the implementation of the Sendai Framework and its extension to include both natural and man-made hazards as well as associated environmental, technological and biological hazards is strongly supported by the EU and its member states. At the heart of the framework is the aim to prevent the creation of new risks and to reduce existing levels of disaster risks.

In Sweden the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) is the national Sendai Focal Point with the task to further strengthen the multi-sectoral coordination and the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

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