Over the past 10 years, disasters caused by natural hazards have affected the lives and livelihoods of over 2 billion people. Over that period, according to insurer Munich RE, economic losses from disasters rose to a staggering $280 billion in 2021.
In response to these challenges, GFDRR has been at the forefront of global efforts over the past decade to help countries and communities understand, manage, and reduce their risks from natural hazards and climate change. As underscored in the facility’s 2021-2025 strategy, GFDRR is committed to stepping up these efforts in this era of compound risks.
An evaluation from the World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has not only confirmed the facility’s transformative contributions to the field of disaster risk management (DRM), but also unearthed lessons that will drive and inform DRM efforts going forward.
For starters, the IEG evaluation emphasized that GFDRR technical assistance and analytical support have played a major role in driving the surge in the World Bank’s DRM support. Tripling its support for DRM, between 2010 and 2020, the World Bank approved billions of dollars of investments and over 1,000 projects across 100 countries.
The IEG evaluation also highlighted a range of highly effective World Bank initiatives in DRM, made possible with technical assistance and analytical support from GFDRR.
In Mozambique, for example, a technical team provided advisory services and analytics that have enabled authorities to develop resilient design standards for schools. Since 2016, all newly constructed classrooms have followed these standards. In the aftermath of the devastation from cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019, all of the nearly 6,000 schools constructed under the resilient standards survived.
In the Philippines, a technical team has worked closely with authorities in Metro Manila to develop and adopt an integrated, coordinated, and long-term master plan for flood risk management. Development of the plan was achieved through a highly consultative process that built consensus among agencies responsible for flood management as well as municipal authorities. According to GFDRR data, each dollar entrusted to the facility influences at least $133 in climate resilient development impact in the Philippines.
In India, a technical team has supported the state of Bihar in building flood mitigation and preparedness at scale, including through the use of decentralized approaches to embankment monitoring and maintenance, flood forecasting, and early warning systems. To cite just one example of the progress, flood forecast systems have improved to the point of providing 90 percent accuracy in forecasts with a lead time of 72 hours.
Looking ahead, GFDRR will deepen its commitment to the key principles of effective DRM identified by the IEG evaluation. These include a proactive rather than reactive approach to disaster risk management, as well as a multisectoral and synergistic approach to DRM that spans thematic areas such as resilient infrastructure and financial protection.
GFDRR will also support the World Bank as it adopts the IEG evaluation’s recommendations for more effective DRM. The recommendations include integrating the needs of populations that are disproportionately affected by disasters, as well as identifying and assessing the ways in which hazards and conflict interrelate. In supporting the World Bank in taking on these recommendations, the facility will draw on its ongoing work in relevant thematic areas and cross-cutting areas such as inclusive DRM and gender equality and the DRM–fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) nexus.
Undoubtedly, the new normal of compound risks will test the mettle of countries and communities as they strive to understand, manage, and reduce their risks from natural hazards and climate change. Nonetheless, the IEG evaluation should provide cause for optimism, indicating that by working with partners such as GFDRR and the World Bank, they can build on the progress already achieved and move even closer to a resilient future.
“GFDRR support has played a major role in enabling growth of [disaster risk reduction] by financing analytical work and technical assistance and developing a critical mass of disaster experts to support World Bank project teams.”
—World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group