UN Disaster Office Gets New Chief

IAS Prelims 2023

Following his appointment by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Robert Glasser, an experienced leader and thinker on development issues, took up his new role as head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

He succeeds Margareta Wahlström who completed two terms at the end of 2015.

This is a very exciting time to be leading UNISDR as it enters a new era marked by the promotion and implementation of the Sendia Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 which seeks substantial reductions in disaster losses including mortality, the numbers of persons affected by disasters, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

Reducing disaster risk is core to the achievement of the post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

We live in a world where 90 per cent of disasters are now climate-related, so there needs to be significant integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts to ensure that climate change is not seen as a risk driver in isolation from other risk factors such as poverty, rapid urbanisation, non-compliance with building codes, environmental degradation and population expansion in exposed areas such as flood plains and coastal areas.