Challenges in Asia and the Pacific
A changing climate and rapidly growing exposure to disaster risk presents the world with an unprecedented challenge. The Asia-Pacific region is paying a heavy price for manmade and natural disasters, which are negatively affecting the region’s human development. The average number of people exposed to yearly flooding in Asia has more than doubled between 1970 and 2010, while the population resident in cyclone-prone areas has grown from 71.8 million to 120.7 million. In relative terms, the Pacific Island countries are the most affected, with average annualized losses estimated for Vanuatu and Tonga at 6.6% and 4.4% of GDP respectively. In 2013, the number of deaths caused by natural disasters increased largely due to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the floods in Uttarakhand, India. In other countries, the number of deaths has shown a declining trend.
Any sudden shocks, including natural disasters or climate change, conflict, or financial and economic crisis, risk pulling down about 1 billion people in the region who live just above the extreme poverty line.
With a US$72 million programme in Asia-Pacific across 16 countries, UNDP supports nations and their people in building resilience to shocks to help ensure that the development gains made are sustained. A number of Country Offices have been moving toward a more preventative and long-term approach to helping build resilience, and UNDP contributed to putting risk reduction on the national agenda in countries and help to integrate community development, recovery, income generation, disaster preparedness and support to livelihoods into more coherent programmes.