The Big Why
In an increasingly diverse and connected world, the nature and complexity of challenges facing our global population is constantly changing and arguably increasing. If by no other measure, the emerging complexity of the 17 proposed Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals shows this when compared to the 8 Millennium Development Goals (see www.un.org/millenniumgoals) that precede them. Taking these as the most current global consensus on the state of the world, a compelling narrative can be found.
Disaster and climate risk factors are directly mentioned in 3 of and referenced in a further 9 of the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals. The cross-cutting nature of disaster and climate risk factors means that they impact employment, food production and agriculture, sanitation, education, tourism, energy systems, housing, physical and mental health and wellbeing… the list goes on.
These challenges require new approaches; they require creativity and innovation; they require us to collaborate broadly, and to act with integrity and clarity of purpose; they require more that we know we’re capable of delivering, and increase the pressure on our already constrained resources. They require the contributions of all people.
Young people are consistently the most creative, technologically capable and enthusiastic demographic there is. They have been found to show more integrity in decision-making and behaviour, more generosity, and an openness to both change and collaboration. Add in modern technological capability and young people could be seen as the most incredible resource this planet has ever seen, given the potential for positive impact that they harbour. Yet this resource might be nothing without the supportive guidance of existing wisdom, technical knowledge and expertise.
Looking Beyond Disaster seeks to unleash this potential. The Third World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (see www.wcdrr.org), where this toolkit is to be launched, is likely to ratify that:
“Children and youth are agents of change and can contribute their experience and should be given the space and modalities to do this” – Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Zero draft submitted by the co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee (20 October 2014) (See www.wcdrr.org/preparatory/post2015)
It is intended that Looking Beyond Disaster can enable this “space and modality” in a meaningful and coherent fashion, in the name of catalysing solutions to our local, national, regional and global disaster and climate risk challenges both now and into the future.