World Disasters Report 2016: 'Resilience: Saving lives today, investing for tomorrow'

The World Disasters Report is an annual independent publication commissioned by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Each year, experts present a body of research that examines challenges, trends and innovations around a specific humanitarian theme. The new report calls for a major shift in international aid financing.

A lack of global investment in strengthening community resilience is leaving tens of millions of people exposed to predictable, preventable and catastrophic disaster risks, stresses the World Disasters Report 2016, launched today by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

According to the report, despite broad recognition that investing in resilience before a disaster can save lives and money, only 40 cents in every 100 US dollars spent on international aid is invested in preparedness and measures to reduce disaster risk.

“Investing in resilience is the best method we have for protecting the lives, livelihoods and dignity of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy. “Business as usual is no longer acceptable. It will only lead to more silent suffering and deeper poverty.

“We must work along a continuum – of preparedness, early response, recovery and resilience building.”

The World Disasters Report 2016 paints a picture of a world facing complex challenges that cannot be comprehensively addressed through post-disaster response or emergency interventions.

Forced migration is at its highest level since the Second World War. The number and scale of disasters triggered by natural hazards are increasing. Globalization and urbanization means outbreaks and other health crises are harder to contain, and the impact of climate change is taking its toll – 2015 was the hottest year on record with 32 major droughts, double the ten-year average.

Between 1991 and 2010, the impact of recorded disaster events in poor countries resulted in over 840 billion US dollars of financial losses. Yet, over the same period, only 0.4 per cent of the 3.3 trillion US dollars spent on aid was dedicated to prevention or risk reduction.

“It is clear that something must change,” said co-editors David Sanderson and Anshu Sharma. “But responding to today’s humanitarian challenges is not just a question of finance. We must invest in solutions and partnerships that produce future resilience – livelihoods and social cohesion, health and psychosocial well-being, supporting communities to withstand future shocks and adversity.”

From forecast-based financing and preparedness activities in Bangladesh to seed bank building in Senegal, the World Disasters Report outlines numerous examples showing how more resilient communities cope better with risks and hazards.

Building on the report, the IFRC is also calling on partners to support and join the One Billion Coalition for Resilience – a global initiative to support communities around the world to take action to strengthen their safety, health and well-being. Launched in late 2015, the 1BC seeks to build a broad coalition of partners from across all sectors to support 1 billion people by 2025.

Benoit Matsha-Carpentier is team leader and public communications at IFRC. This article was originally published on 13 October 2016 in IFRS press release. 


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