More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

Synopsis

Natural and human-made disasters are increasing around the world. Hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and resultant famine, floods, and armed conflicts are constant reminders of the frailty of our human race. Global warming may cause whole island states to be submerged as the oceans rise. In the past these acute and recurring crises have been met by the international community responding to UN and media appeals. The economic collapse of nations is now a reality; some of those most affected had been traditional, generous donors to disaster relief operations. It is unlikely-probably impossible-that they will be able to continue to contribute overseas when their own domestic needs are unmet.

A recent New York Times front page report suggested that one of the few domestic issues to have bipartisan support was to cut the foreign aid budget. This book analyzes the global economic forecast and the United Nations pattern of philanthropy, provides a case study of how one nation with a tradition of giving will cope in the face of a marked reduction in flexible funds, and then provides thoughtful chapters on new approaches to disaster preparedness and disaster response. Among the contributors are the Director of UNESCO, the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Assistance, the Secretary General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, and fresh suggestions from three well-known global entrepreneurs.

All royalties from this book go to the training of humanitarian workers.

Excerpt

Disaster risk is increasing globally. Over the past decade, disasters caused by natural hazards have affected more than 2.2 billion people and killed over 840,000. The economic cost of these disasters was at least $891 billion. These are losses to countries’ welfare and to individual livelihoods and future.

In 2011 we witnessed a sequence of consecutive disasters caused by earthquakes, tsunamis and weather-related events. At the same time, the world has gone through a financial crisis that has plunged many countries into recession and negatively affected the economic growth of others. This crisis has led to intense scrutiny of expenditure and priorities. Calls for more efficiency and “burden sharing” in international and national cooperation are frequently heard.

During my Presidency of the Sixty-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, I have traveled to disaster sites and seen the effects of the tsunami in Japan, the devastation of famine in Somalia, and the largest refugee camp in the world in Kenya.

Donors who finance humanitarian relief recognize the risks and the lack of sustainability of their increasing expenditure for humanitarian situations. This pressure on resources and on vulnerability motivates us to find new solutions, rethink our strategies, and redefine our actions to ensure that every dollar spent in aid—whether development and humanitarian—will result in more resilient and sustainable cities, communities, and nations.

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