Review of COVID-19 disaster risk governance in Asia-Pacific: towards multi-hazard and multi-sectoral disaster risk reduction

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on countries in the Asia- Pacific region. Not only have the health consequences led to over 170,000 deaths in the region, but the socio-economic costs have exceeded those of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. The cascading impacts of this health emergency have affected every sector, with the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt, especially migrants, informal workers, and older persons. The far-reaching impact has underscored the need for countries to review how they manage disaster risk, demonstrating again the importance of multi-hazard and multi-sector approaches. While many countries have made advances in identifying certain types of hazards, few have systematically considered the full range of hazards that threaten the lives and livelihoods of their people. Countries are prone to several types of hazards, and effective risk reduction is only possible if all relevant threats are considered and mitigated against. A multihazard approach allows for the prioritization of hazards for mitigation action, and thus, more efficient use of resources. This paper examines the disaster risk governance structures in Asia-Pacific and provides recommendations on how they can be strengthened.