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DRM is a network for applied research, implementation, and dissemination in the field of disaster risk management. It is an initiative of the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in conjunction with the ProVention Consortium of the World Bank.

Every managing executive in the public or private sector has a duty to ensure appropriate risk management in his area of responsibility. Hazardous events of natural or technological origin can happen anywhere and at any time. It's never too early to integrate risk management into corporate governance - but it may often be too late.

DRM marshals resources for collaborative activities in applied research, re-search applications, and professional practice to reduce disaster risks in vulnerable communities throughout the world.

The objective of DRM is to enable people to anticipate disasters and take action to protect life and property, and to ensure sustainable social and economic development. Its activities include supporting the pursuit of an optimal balance between disaster risk reduction, risk-sharing mechanisms, and management of residual risks in the face of limited resources.

DRM achieves its aims by filling knowledge gaps, providing a clearing-house for information, building know-how, mobilizing resources, and forging partnerships with governments, private en-terprises, international agencies, and NGOs.

DRM works with a wide range of international organizations and institutions whose common ob-jective is disaster risk reduction for public safety and sustainable development.

Even when reliable and cost-effective technologies are available for early warning, disaster prevention and mitigation, many governments, especially in developing countries, lack an adequate institutional framework in which to apply them.

Natural and technological disasters often cause substantial damage to life and property, infrastructures, cultural heritage, and the ecological basis of life. Indirect losses in terms of business interruption, loss of production, and loss of services often exceed losses due to direct physical damage. Deve-loping countries are affected more severely, often suffering a dramatic decline in GNP.

Increased losses from disasters
Disaster losses have increased dramatically over the past two decades. This has resulted from changes in the pattern of hazard occurrence and from increased vulnerability of a growing population. With greater pressure to exploit marginal lands and accommodate more people in urban areas, the potential for future disasters continues to expand. To develop effective and efficient tools and strategies for disaster risk assessment and risk reduction, it is necessary to understand the factors contributing to those risks. Natural hazard events often precipitate subsequent technological failures, and dependency on tightly coupled technological systems can increase the potential for catastrophic failure and disaster. Natural and technological disasters also threaten the ecological basis of life through long-term environmental damage.