Global sustainability targets: Planetary boundary, global catastrophic risk, and disaster risk reduction considerations

Published on 23 November 2022


The effects of the crossing Planetary Boundaries and Global Catastrophic Risk (GCR) events on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) efforts, international development targets, and any future international development target iterations are not well understood. However, the crossing of Planetary Boundaries, and GCR events could have significant and adverse effects on the global development gains, capability building, resilience, and adaptability that has been achieved as a result of decades of international development work.

A background to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework, GCR, and Planetary Boundaries is first presented. This is followed by an analysis of the possible futures that the world could take considering the aforementioned items. The scenario analysis develops and explores futures for humanity and the Earth for different levels of GCR, and different extents to which the Planetary Boundaries may or may not have been passed. Through this, distinct scenarios are developed: Earth Under Uncertainty, Global Collapse, Stable Earth, and Earth Under Threat. The implementation and success of international targets is inhibited to varying degrees across these possible futures. Furthermore, it is evident that without direct action, the first and last aforementioned scenarios are on a pathway towards that of the Global Collapse scenario.

Reactive and preventive policy suggestions are formulated from the scenario analysis, with a recommendation that both types should be developed, adopted, and implemented. Prioritisation should be to preventive policy as there is a lower resource cost. To ensure DRR continues and can be further developed, the Planetary Boundaries, and GCR considerations, should be integrated into both the international development goals and accompanying frameworks that follow on post-2030 from the SDGs, and Sendai Framework.

Read full paper

Subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates