Let’s #BreakTheCycle: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

13th October is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR). This annual observance is a vehicle to promote a global culture of disaster reduction – including strategies of prevention, mitigation, and preparedness.

When we refer to DRR, we include all the actions «aimed at preventing new and reducing existing disaster risk and managing residual risk, all of which contribute to strengthening resilience and therefore to the achievement of sustainable development». A definition provided by the United Nations Office for DRR, that leads research and reports on the matter, carrying on awareness campaigns, such us the IDDRR.

2023 thematic focus is oriented at fighting inequality for a resilient future. Followed by the hashtag #BreakTheCycle, UNDRR makes clear that poverty and discrimination are notable causes and consequences of growing disaster risk. It is a lowkey paradigm: poorest people are more exposed and vulnerable to disasters, which are caused by human actions and natural hazards. Climate change effects and social inequality are getting more and more concerning, so it is needed to act through careful and coordinated planning, designed to reduce people’s exposure and vulnerability to harm. Greater investments are necessary in the collection and use of disaggregated data, both to better understand disproportionate disaster impacts and exposure, and to inform resilience-building plans. Thus, the motto: #BreakTheCyle. Give people opportunities to be more resilient, learn more about the risks, be prepared, prevent dangers from becoming disasters.

These key messages are well described in the UNDRR website, which welcomes us with a quote of the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres:

«Our world is plagued by a perfect storm on a number of fronts. Start with the short-term, a global economic crisis. The outlook is bleak. We see deepening inequalities and a rapidly unfolding cost-of-living crisis – affecting women and girls the most. Supply chain disruptions and an energy crunch. Soaring prices. Rising interest rates along with inflation. And debt levels pounding vulnerable countries»[1].

Outspoken voice that sounds the alarm over global inequalities. Through a systemic overview, Mr Guterres copes the disasters’ effects with a shattering communication choice. The International Day for DRR is thus the chance to get more conscious and aware of the extreme consequences of several risks to vulnerable groups of people. It is an opportunity to discover and inform, to get involved by participating/promoting an event and have the access to social media toolkits created to share experiences fighting inequality for a resilient future. Despite the hopeless and urgent speech of the institution, UNDRR dedicates a full area to stories of individuals that face floods, heatwaves, wildfires, and other disasters. Reflecting the human spirit’s capacity to persevere, these examples inspire the action and get the world connected around the goals of no more inequalities to #BreakTheCycle.

[1] Bold, ed.