In a statement last week, the EU called for a move towards a culture of prevention in the lead up to the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, due to take place in Sendai, Japan, 14 to 18 March 2015.
The statement was a response to the publication by the UN Secretary-General of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2015).
The EU say that evidence from GAR provides a compelling case for the need to improve disaster risk reduction in the coming years.
According to EU figures, in the past 10 years, disasters including floods, have killed 0.7 million people, affected 1.7 billion people and caused EUR 1.25 trillion in direct economic losses, with losses concentrated disproportionately in low and middle income countries.
While disaster management has improved over recent years, for example by increased early warning systems, countries have neglected to manage the underlying risks, such as reducing poverty, planning and managing cities appropriately, and protecting and restoring ecosystems.
The EU statement said:
One lesson of the GAR is on the need to move towards a culture of prevention, in which information about risk is widely shared with policymakers, local communities, local authorities, civil society, academia and the private sector.
The improved risk knowledge will be an important result of the capacity building support provided by the EU towards a more strategic approach in the integration of disaster risk reduction in sustainable development policies and in public and private sector investments.
The EU has taken a leading role in building a new, ambitious and enhanced international post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction to be adopted in March 2015 in Sendai.