Asia-Pacific Must Invest in Urban Risk Management - ADB Study

Manila Bulletin, May 4, 2012 | Go to article overview

Asia-Pacific Must Invest in Urban Risk Management - ADB Study


MANILA, Philippines - Asia and the Pacific could see a seven-fold return on their investment in urban disaster risk management, if they devote resources into protecting cities across the region that are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of natural calamities.

With two-thirds of the region's population projected to live in cities by 2050, and with more than 70% of the region's GDP deriving from cities, protecting urban assets from disasters is a priority, especially since many of Asia's major cities are situated in locations prone to flooding, tropical storms, and earthquakes, among other hazards.

"Disaster risk management is often seen as a cost rather than an investment," said Vinod Thomas, Director General of ADB's Independent Evaluation Department at the seminar, "Vulnerable Cities - Waking up to the need for Urban Risk Management."

"Instead, we must see it as a necessary investment to save people's lives and livelihoods, climate proof critical infrastructure, and promote sustainable development."

Investing in disaster risk reduction is prudent: For every $1 spent, it has been estimated that the economic impact of disaster will be reduced by $7. With the annual economic cost of disasters averaging $53.8 billion in Asia and the Pacific, the focus must shift from post-disaster reconstruction and recovery to pre-disaster investment in risk reduction, adaptation and innovative disaster financing, the audience heard. …

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