WCDM 2019 will revolve around the overarching theme of The Future We Want: Bridging Gaps between Promises and Action and the Seven Pillars for Building Resilience to Disasters, as outlined in the Visakhapatnam Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the WCDM 2017. These seven pillars are:
SDG goal to 'end poverty in all its forms everywhere' by 2030 is challenging by any means. There is significant convergence in the spatial distribution of poverty and disaster, indicating clearly double jeopardy of the poor: first, poor people are more exposed and hence suffer disproportionately in disasters; second, disasters perpetuate chronic and inter-generational poverty. Breaking this vicious cycle is the common goal of poverty eradication as well as disaster risk reduction.
The second goal of SDG to 'end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture' has a specific targetto strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters.Experts all over the globe are working to develop agricultural systems and practices that are sustainable in changing climates.
The third and fourth SDG, namely, 'ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages'and 'inclusive and equitable education and lifelong learning opportunities for all' cannot be achieved unless health and education systems are resilient to the risks of disasters. Sendai Framework has called for enhancing the resilience of national health and education systems to disasters. Hospital and school safety programmes have been taken up in many countries, yet these are far from being safe, as seen in unacceptable number of deaths, damages and disruptions in schools and hospitals during disasters.
Disaster resilient infrastructures play key role in minimizing economic losses and ensuring functional critical infrastructure following disasters. The developed economies are responding to the challenges of making existing and new infrastructure resilient to disasters. The developing countries are still coping with the challenge to provide basic infrastructure to meet social and economic needs at affordable cost.
Making cities and human settlements safe, resilient and sustainable is the eleventh goal of SDG. Cities are recognised as the economic growth centres of countries and their well-being is important beyond their borders. Both the SDGs and the Sendai Frameworkcall for substantial increase in city-centric disaster risk reduction strategies. Sustainable development of countries is only feasible if cities are resilient.
Both rural and urban communities have developed inherent capacities for resilience through local and indigenous knowledge and practices. Nevertheless, communities in a rapidly changing world are facing major challenges that have engaged the attention of various national governments and local organisations.
Most businesses are vulnerable to disasters. However, small and medium businesses lack capacity of early recovery and business continuity. These aspects including innovative and disruptive technologies, new business opportunities in disaster risk reduction, public private partnerships and corporate social responsibility are important issues of building resilience of business for sustainable development.