The UN General Assembly, having proclaimed the “International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction” in Resolution No. 44/236 (1989), declared the second Wednesday in October as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction and decided to celebrate it annually during 1990-1999.
In 2009, the General Assembly, in its resolution 64/200, focusing on the importance of reducing the risk of all disasters, renamed this day the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and decided to celebrate it on 13 October.
The International Day is an opportunity to acknowledge global progress in preventing and reducing disaster risk and losses.
In 2023, the International Day will look at the reciprocal relationship between disasters and inequality. Inequality and disaster vulnerability are two sides of the same coin: unequal access to services, such as finance and insurance, leaves the most at risk exposed to the danger of disasters; while disaster impacts exacerbate inequalities and push the most at risk further into poverty.
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, observed 13 October:
2023 has shattered temperature records, and seen record drought, fire and floods around the world. Poverty and inequality are exacerbating these disasters.
Those with least are often at greatest risk from extreme weather. They may live in places that are more susceptible to flooding and drought; and they have fewer resources to deal with damage and to recover from it. They suffer disproportionately as a result, and may be pushed further into poverty.
Fighting inequality for a resilient future, is the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. Countries must work to break the cycle of poverty and disaster by honouring the Paris Agreement, striving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
We must also tackle inequality at the global level, by operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 [twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] this year and ensuring that every person on Earth is covered by an early warning system by 2027.
This International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction let us reaffirm our commitment to investing in resilience and adaptation, and building a safe and just future for everyone, everywhere.
Concept Note: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2023