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EU development policies must be 'strongly geared' to disaster

In today's world there are an unsettling number of people who are highly exposed to the threat of crises, whether it is an economic crisis, conflict or natural disaster. One of the key challenges for many individuals and communities in fragile or crisis-prone states is the ability to manage a crisis or disaster resiliently and emerge from it successfully. The EU's development policies need to be strongly geared towards developing more resilient societies that are better able to withstand the shocks that a crisis or natural disaster produces. The impact of disasters represents major economic losses for governments and populations as well as an enormous loss of life. However, investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience will pay huge dividends in the future. The Asian development bank estimates that one dollar invested in disaster risk reduction in a crisis-prone area saves at least four dollars in relief and rehabilitation costs in the future. China has demonstrated its great progress on disaster risk reduction strategies in the past. When China spent €2.3bn between 1960 and 2000 on reducing the impact of floods, it averted losses estimated at around €9bn.

The European commission has made commendable efforts by attaching a strong focus through its communication on the EU approach to resilience in October 2012, which was followed up by an 'action plan on resilience in crisis-prone countries'. In December 2013, the European parliament overwhelmingly adopted a report I authored on the EU approach to resilience and DRR. The report requests the commission to take further action in a number of key areas in its approach to resilience. A key point made in the report is that DRR activities need to be strongly integrated with climate change adaptation strategies.

The full article by Gay Mitchell on TheParliament Magazine