Press Releases

    14 July 2004

    Living with Risk:  A Hundred Positive Examples of How People
    Are Making the World Safer

    (Reissued as received.)

    NEW YORK, 14 July -- Today, the Inter-Agency Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) launched its 2004 version of “Living with Risk: A global review of disaster reduction initiatives.” The publication is an unprecedented compilation of concrete examples of what people are doing to make the world a safer place.  Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland presented the publication, coinciding with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

    “The report gives more than a hundred positive examples of how countries such as Costa Rica, India, South Africa, Pacific island states, Canada, Vietnam, Japan, the United States, Australia manage the challenge of living with natural hazards. A natural hazard is only a disaster because people find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time,” explained Sálvano Briceño, Director of the ISDR Secretariat in Geneva. “There are many ways to make the world safer if we learn to be less vulnerable.”

    In 2003 alone, over 70,000 people perished in some 700 disasters that affected 600 million men, women and children and caused US$ 65 billion in damages. Global trends show that disasters will increase because of human activities and more people – in particular the poor – will be affected as they grow more vulnerable. Over three-quarters of the 100 largest cities in the world are situated in locations exposed to potential serious natural hazards.

    The global review is an indispensable guide for everyone interested in disaster risk reduction, humanitarian action and sustainable development. It explores the ways in which the understanding of disaster management and risk has evolved over recent years and provides a comprehensive compilation of information on disaster risks around the world. The review is drawn from studies commissioned by UN/ISDR and activities carried out by regional partner organizations, with inputs from various UN organizations, national governments and specialized institutions.  It directly complements the UNDP report “Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development” launched in early 2004.  Both organizations will jointly produce future versions.

    Many of the issues outlined in “Living with Risk” will be addressed at the forthcoming World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Hyogo (Japan) in January 2005.

    On-line extracts of “Living with Risk: A global review of disaster reduction initiatives”
    available on the ISDR website

    (direct link:


    For more information, please contact:
    Nicole Rencoret, Inter-Agency Secretariat of the
    International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR)
    Tel: +41 78 861 9849