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UN report: Indian economy faces climate change perils
A Global Assessment Report (GAR), launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) here on Wednesday, has warned of new and much larger threats due to extreme climate changes to economies, in particular the Asia Pacific which accounts for 40% of the global economic losses, with the greatest impact in the largest economies of Japan, China, Korea and India. The GAR was launched at the Global Platform organised by the UNDRR here with 5,000 participants from governments, private sectors and civil society attending the five-day event which is seen as a run up to the climate conference in September, taking note of the progress made on achieving sustainable development goals. India has sent a high-level delegation headed by Prime Minister’s additional principal secretary P K Mishra. The report has outlined major risk to human life from air pollution and biological hazards, in addition to other natural disasters like floods, landslides and earthquakes. Economic losses to the extent of 4% of GDP annually are projected if countries don’t invest in DRR (disaster risk reduction). It has been estimated that an annual investment of $6 billion in DRR strategies would generate benefits of up to $360 billion each year. “Extreme changes in planetary and socio-ecological systems are happening now; we no longer have the luxury of procrastination. If we continue living in this way, engaging with each other and the planet in the way we do, then our very survival is in doubt,” said Mami Mizutori, head of UNDRR. Mizutori said countries must recognise that an international development financing system that allocates approximately 20 times the funding to emergency response, reconstruction, relief and rehabilitation activities rather than prevention and preparedness, acts counter to sustainability principles. The report says the impact in terms of losses and deaths is probably much higher than the data suggests, as disasters in several of these countries remain underreported. “Human losses and asset losses relative to GDP tend to be higher in the countries with the least capacity to prepare, finance and respond to disasters and climate change,” the report argues. India has made major progress in achieving the goals of the Sendai Framework for DRR, adopted by all UN member countries in 2015 which talks about reducing disaster mortalities and economic losses, said Kamal Kishore, Member National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India. Kishore, who addressed journalists along with Mizutori at the UN after the launch of the GAR, said that in the recent cyclone Fani that caused huge economic devastation in parts of Odisha, India managed to evacuate more than 1.2 million people within 24 hours and minimise human casualties by 96% compared to a similar cyclone event in the state earlier (in 1999 with over 10,000 deaths). The report urges governments to put the Sendai Framework into action, shifting focus from disaster management to reducing risk. Adopted by UN member states in 2015, the Sendai Framework aims to reduce disaster deaths economic losses and strengthen risk governance by building resilience and investing in early warning system. India is yet to report all its economic losses and other targets to the Sendai Framework Monitoring which is a platform to assess progress made by each partner countries.