Global Business Coalition members are calling for global action to reduce the impact of disasters


Following the tragic loss of life and significant economic impact caused by the 2023 Türkiye and Syria earthquake, the Global Business Coalition calls on all governments to use the G20 under the Indian Presidency to review the best available strategies to Implement Risk Mitigation, Mitigation and Response and Direct much-needed resources to improve disaster resilience. These challenges are increasing and must be addressed with a multi-sectoral approach to avoid loss of life in communities around the world.

While catastrophes of all kinds wreak their havoc locally, the interconnectedness of systems and economies is reflected in their global impact. Coordinated investment in resilience is essential for G20 members and India has recognized this critical need early on and set up the Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction due to meet on 30 April.

The Global Business Coalition welcomes G20 India’s plans to develop a platform for academics and practitioners working on disaster risk reduction in the G20 countries. Business know-how is essential for this multilateral work. As threats and hazards increase the pace of disasters, the business community must partner with government to reduce the impact of disasters by investing in adaptive capacities that enable resilient communities and systems to cope with these escalating challenges. The costs are unbearable.

The combined estimated annual average loss in the G20 is $218 billion, or 9% of average annual infrastructure investment. According to an early World Bank damage estimate in Türkiye, the direct cost of the earthquakes is US$34.2 billion (equivalent to 4 percent of Türkiye’s GDP in 2021). Business calls on the G20 to focus on global early warning coverage, identify specific damage and loss reduction targets in key infrastructure across all sectors of the economy, and establish clear, capable authorities for rapid response.

In addition to the devastating loss of life, disaster risks can cause long-term economic crises and systemic financial risks, so resilience can affect economic well-being. When disasters such as the Türkiye and Syria earthquakes occur, they have the potential to trigger a domino effect with cross-sectoral impacts that destabilize society, including infrastructure, housing, health systems, agriculture, supply chains, education, livelihoods and food security. Disasters can also increase fragility, fracture economies and communities, deepen inequalities and existing vulnerabilities, and hamper innovations such as the transition to a green economic development paradigm.

The earthquakes make the choice clear and the implications extremely clear – disaster risk reduction, resilience and intersectoral action are a driving human, economic and geopolitical imperative for building resilience across sectors. Developing and least developed countries are the most vulnerable to disasters and offer the best opportunities to demonstrate the effectiveness of investing in resilience to save lives and support economies. In this regard, the OECD Compendium of Best Practices for Quality Infrastructure Investments and the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investments highlight key elements for resilient infrastructure.

The benefits of investing in disaster risk reduction and the urgent need to increase funding for it were highlighted and put on the agenda of G20 Italy by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). In its paper, UNDRRR supports accelerating disaster risk reduction efforts to achieve inclusive sustainable development. The paper underscores that a global annual investment of just $6 billion in appropriate disaster risk management strategies could generate $360 billion in benefits, or a more than 20 percent reduction in new and additional expected annual losses. Additionally, according to a 2019 World Bank report, the net benefits of investing in resilient infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) could amount to $4.2 trillion over the lifespan of the new infrastructure. G20 adopted Principles for quality infrastructure investments who recognize the need for disaster risk management plans to ensure long-term adaptability and build infrastructure resilience, but focus almost exclusively on man-made risks.

We continue to experience a series of resource-intensive, complex incidents involving multiple hazards, globally with complex supply chains and market dynamics that require resilience across interdependent sectors, helping the economically excluded become more resilient. We cannot wait until the next humanitarian response to earthquakes or other disasters to take the necessary action.

Now is the time to prepare for future disasters around the world. We call on G20 leaders to take action to develop cross-sector solutions, invest in disaster-resilient systems and build adaptive capacities informed by risks to people, infrastructure and the economy:

Engage cross-industry stakeholders in building both fast and resilient solutions – especially companies:

  • revising urbanization plans with a holistic approach, including strengthening community resilience, livelihoods, economic activities, buildings and infrastructure, including heritage sites; and preventing social and economic disruption.

  • Work with industry to identify investment priorities and mitigate barriers to trade or investment.

  • Strengthening global efforts on digital technologies that contribute to early warning and response processes to natural disasters.

Invest in resilience now to avoid loss of life and economic disruption in future disasters:

  • Integrate disaster risk reduction and resilience into the economic and development strategies of both the public and private sectors.

  • Prioritize resilient infrastructure investments with a disaster-first approach that creates a sustainable future for your citizens.

  • Secure open, transparent and competitive procurement processes to ensure infrastructure projects are value for money, safe and effective.

  • Enabling local authorities, through regulatory and financial means, to collaborate and coordinate with civil society and communities on disaster risk management at the local level.

Building adaptive capacities before crises and disasters through risk awareness and recovery activities:

  • Identify critical infrastructure assets and systems and define risk levels that are acceptable or intolerable.

  • Enforce implementation of an effective and comprehensive recovery framework (before a disaster strikes).

  • Strengthening the digitization process to ensure business continuity and economic recovery in the post-disaster period.

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into the reconstruction of the disaster-affected regions.

  • Encouraging and supporting technological innovations to mitigate the impact of disasters on critical infrastructure and buildings.

About the authors

Global Corporate Coalition

Global Corporate Coalition

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