A Global Strategy for Disaster Risk

The annual cost of damage to commercial and residential buildings worldwide is now expected to average $314 billion, with the private sector bearing as much as 85% of the price tag. That is why hundreds of business executives are now preparing to attend a UN conference on disaster-risk reduction in Sendai, Japan.

SENDAI – Current disaster-risk levels are alarming. The cost of damage to commercial and residential buildings worldwide is averaging $314 billion each year, with the private sector bearing as much as 85% of that price tag. At the same time, a new United Nations report shows that annual investments in disaster-risk reduction of $6 billion can result in savings of up to $360 billion.

Hundreds of business executives, aware of the dramatic costs – and potential benefits – at stake, are now preparing to attend a UN conference on disaster-risk reduction in Sendai, Japan. A decade ago, when the last such gathering was held, the private sector was scarcely represented. This time, companies and entrepreneurs will be there in full force to explore a range of valuable opportunities.

The Tohoku region of Japan, where the meeting will take place, is a vivid reminder of how a disaster's economic impact reverberates far beyond its epicenter. Devastated four years ago by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, Japan's automobile production was cut by nearly half. The financial damage did not stop at the country's borders; as a direct result of the slowdown in Japan, automobile production dropped by some 20% in Thailand, 50% in China, and 70% in India.

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