The world is changing rapidly. Globalization offers endless economic opportunities, but also has costs. Unsustainable land use and biodiversity loss are happening at an unprecedented speed. Global warming has seen a rise in temperature of about 0.8°C in the past century (with about two-thirds of this increase occurring since 1980), leading to greater environmental and climatic risks.
A report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014 warned that climate change has become a threat to life and livelihoods while also being a factor in the rise of mega-disasters. These changes are occurring alongside rapid population growth and population ageing. The world population has quadrupled to 7 billion people in just over 100 years.
Today, people aged over 60 constitute 11 per cent of the global population. By 2050, this proportion will have doubled, to 22 per cent – that is, 2 billion older persons. Populations are ageing most rapidly in developing countries, which are currently home to 60 per cent of the world’s older persons, projected to rise to 80 per cent by 2050. This collision of increasing global disaster risk and increasing numbers of potentially exposed older persons must be addressed at every level of disaster management planning to ensure that the impact of disaster does not continue to grow along with these trends.
As part of the activities leading to the International Day for Disaster Reduction celebrations in October, UNISDR and Helpage are organizing a survey of both older persons and governments on issues related to ageing and DRR. This information will be very important to understand older people’s knowledge and experiences with disasters, and it will inform the messaging for the International Day for Disaster Risk on 13 October 2014.
Join the 2014 Survey on Ageing and DRR
For older people: 2014 Survey for Older Persons in Potential Disaster Areas
For government disaster management personnel, other agencies and anyone working in emergencies and DRR: Perceptions on Older Persons in Potential Disaster Areas
The International Day for Disaster Reduction is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of DRR. The theme for 2014 will focus on older people and disasters. IDDR 2014 intends to switch on and amplify this critical issue now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
The International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees International Day as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Originally celebrated on the second Wednesday of October, the UN General Assembly decided in 2009 to designate October 13th as the date to celebrate IDDR.