Time is running out! UN warns of harsher, disaster-filled future 


The 2019 UN Global Assessment Report has warned of a bleak future filled with harsher and worse disasters in the history of mankind.

The rather scary future according to the report, is largely due to haphazard and speculative development and hostile handling of the environment.

It cited the 2.5 to 3 degrees global warming above pre-industrial level; a practice that has gone on for centuries with complete disregard to the consequences.

The warning was sounded by the head of Global Risk Analysis and Reporting, Marc Gordon at the 2019 Global Platform.

In the context of an ever-changing environment which shows a worrying trend including the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), a special report of 1° warming, and concerns over biodiversity loss, it is now evident according to Marc Gordon, that “time is running out and that nonlinear change is a reality that we all live with”.

That reality points to the fact that the world needs to shift from the traditionally reliable guide to the future, clearly, that can no longer be relied upon with the same level of confidence. That line of cautioning dominated discussions at the 2019 Global Platform.

Speaking on Disaster Risk Reduction to journalists at the 2019 Global Platform at the International Conference Center in Geneva Switzerland, Mr. Gordon appealed to member states to work toward “understanding the complexities of the world in which we live, it requires us to review our approach, our understanding of risk, how it is created, how it is propagated, and of course, how it’s prevented.

The 2019 Global Platform is the first meeting post the 2015 Sandai Framework, a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognises that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Unlike the Hyogo framework for action, the Sandai Framework is explicitly linked to the 2030 agenda of ‘transforming our world sustainable development’ which recognises the fundamental essentials for the world to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Unit head of Global Risk Analysis and Reporting Supporting and Monitoring Sandai Framework Implementation Branch, went on to caution nations about the existential threat saying “the nature of the threat is not singular. We are confronted with the challenges of a pluralistic nature.”

He urged the world to examine ways to collaborate and be more informed in understanding the dynamic interaction to mitigate the challenge.

“Transdisciplinary across sectors across geographies and scales…so that we can determine an interdependent solution in a more collective fashion,” he urged.

With the multilateral approach to global development and global policy facing significant challenges, Mr Gordon also called on governments to make good use of their intelligence at the national level.

He also urged them to collaborate at the regional and continental levels, to “understand the systemic nature of interaction with each other.”

According to him, “that is the way we can stave off the kind of potential consequences that are being presented by some of the more bleak scenarios… if we move beyond the 1.5% degree warming to a two-degree world which is quite frankly, we do not know how it will look like.”

The bleak scenario if allowed to fester and manifest, will have dire consequence on food production and food security, with the potential of triggering unemployment among farmers, he said.

It will also not spare basic life-supporting systems; a life-threatening scenario which requires an urgent fix to save the world.

It will require a shift from being effective in distributing short term products example food and tarpaulin to farmers who lose their investment to drought or floods, to being more effective and channelling similar strategy and energy to investing in risk-informed sustainable development projects.

There should also be concientising of stakeholders including governments, engineers, private developers and rural farmers on the consequences of their actions and the decisions they make today.




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