Interconnected Disaster Risks 2023: Risk Tipping Points

Eberle, Caitlyn, O'Connor, Jack, Narvaez, Liliana, Mena Benavides, Melisa and Sebesvari, Zita (2023). Interconnected Disaster Risks 2023: Risk Tipping Points. United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).

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    Author Eberle, Caitlyn
    O'Connor, Jack
    Narvaez, Liliana
    Mena Benavides, Melisa
    Sebesvari, Zita
    Title Interconnected Disaster Risks 2023: Risk Tipping Points
    Publication Date 2023-10-23
    Place of Publication Bonn
    Publisher United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
    Pages 96
    Language eng
    Abstract The 2023 Interconnected Disaster Risks report examines six immediate and increasing risks across the world: the accelerating extinctions of species, the depletion of groundwater resources, the retreat of mountain glaciers, the growing number of places facing uninhabitable temperatures, the rise in uninsurability and the growing amount of space debris. Through literature review and expert consultation, we define “risk tipping points” for each of the six cases, representing the point at which a given socioecological system ceases to buffer risks and to provide its expected functions, after which the risk of catastrophic impacts to the system increases substantially. Our analysis also includes a highlight on the interconnectivity of root causes and drivers that are pushing these systems to their tipping point, as well as their influence on each other and compounding and cascading impacts into other systems, now and in the future. Our findings indicate that human actions are causing these increased risks, and we discuss the potential behavior and value changes that will be necessary to address them. This report also proposes a new framework to classify and discuss the effectiveness of solutions that help us address risk tipping points. Solutions fall into two main categories: Avoid solutions that target root causes and drivers of risk to avoid crossing risk tipping points altogether, and adapt solutions that help us to prepare or to better address the negative impacts of risk tipping point in case they cannot be avoided, and seek to adapt to the resulting changes in an attempt to live with them. Within each category, there are two options for actions: Delay actions work within the existing “business as usual” system and seek to slow down the progression towards risk tipping points or possible worst impacts. Transform actions involve a fundamental re-imagining of the system itself. Out of the different categories, it is transformative solutions that have the potential to move us away from a future of multiplying risk tipping points, but they also require the most societal and personal change. Therefore, the report highlights overall changes we can make to our behaviours and values that would transform the way we use our systems and reduce overall risk. These include a shift towards zero waste, a closer connection to nature, global cooperation and trust, consideration for future generations, and shifting to an economic model that is less focused on growth and more on human well-being within planetary boundaries. Addressing risk tipping points requires us to fundamentally change how we perceive and value the world around us in a way that gives us the responsibility to care for it. We must design our systems to work in a way that recognizes how much we need the world and all its systems working together for our survival; otherwise, we will find ourselves in a future where risks continue to multiply. The choice is ours. We have the power to act now to create the future we want.
    Keyword Tipping point
    Disaster risk
    Systemic risk
    Socioecological systems
    Copyright Holder United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
    Copyright Year 2023
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.53324/WTWN2495
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    Created: Wed, 25 Oct 2023, 18:02:48 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS