Escalating human and material losses produced by natural hazards point to a failure not only in risk governance but also to a lack of success in human adaptation to environmental conditions. The effort made in developing our system of response to disasters has diverted attention away from the root causes of risk. This paper examines the nature and drivers of risk exposure in order to develop a framework for analysis and to achieve more effective governance. Risk transference between agents and historical exposure, the satisfaction of basic needs and economic wants, and poor risk knowledge have been identified as key drivers. The concept of exposure challenges the complementary notion of vulnerability elaborated by scholars and practitioners from various disciplines. In this context, exposure implies a potential for loss, while vulnerability implies the potential for differential loss.
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