When one thinks about Disaster Risk Reduction, very rarely does a layman include minority groups in their analysis. You may think about recent natural disasters and the lives and livelihoods lost. This field of study refers to the prevention of loss as much as possible during these natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. The major document guiding these prevention principles is the Sendai Framework.
Following the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Sendai Framework, adopted in 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan, has four priorities when advocating for prevention and safety:
(i) Understanding disaster risk
(ii) Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
(iii) Investing in disaster reduction for resilience and
(iv) Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
By investing in these, the international community has the ability to create a safer world for all. It includes seven specific strategies for accomplishing these goals and ensures continuing innovation in the field.
It also places emphasis on the vulnerable populations by creating a “persons centered approach”. For instance, persons with disabilities are mentioned six times throughout the document, older persons are mentioned twice, women are mentioned seven times, and children are mentioned three. This inclusion is reaffirmed by the Dhaka Declaration, which places particular emphasis on the validity of persons with disabilities and their role in minimizing disaster losses. This is particularly done by linking the Sendai Framework back to the SDGs, CRPD, and other frameworks for poverty reduction and elevation of the voices of marginalized groups like persons with disabilities.The Dhaka Declaration also uses a multi stakeholder approach, including “members from Governments, UNISDR, regional and international non-government organizations working on disability and disaster risk management, professionals and academicians, groups and organizations of persons with disabilities, bi-lateral and multi-lateral development agencies and other development sector representatives” as signatories to the declaration to bring all these different groups to the table. Other examples of inclusiveness in the Disaster Risk Reduction field is through the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (which advocates for solutions like International Sign Language Interpretation, remote participation, web conferencing with closed captioning, and more) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). By working with different groups and emphasizing the existence and participation of persons with disabilities, the field of Disaster Risk Reduction is not only able to be more effective, it continues to work on affording natural human rights to a marginalized work. Examples like these will encourage growth in the conversation about inclusiveness and become the guiding principles in the industry to follow through the inclusion of goal setting and concrete strategies to accomplish them. In the future, thinking about the prevention of loss following natural hazards, vulnerable populations like persons with disabilities will be so normalized that thinking about them comes automatically.
The international policy-making scene is indeed making progress by directly referring to vulnerable members of society. The “person-centered approach” is an important attempt of moving towards more inclusive development strategies, especially as more groups of people are being recognized by the major group framework and other stakeholders. What kind of role do you think intersectionality plays in the “person-centered approach” ? Do you think it’s an element that should be taken into consideration? Or do you think that it will only slow down the policy-making process?
Very interesting stuff. I can’t help but think of the immense challenge to disaster risk reduction posed by climate change. In countries like Bangladesh, we are already seeing mass migration out of areas in which flooding has salinated agricultural field. As more and more people are forced to leave their homes due to climate change, the intersection of climate refugees and PWDs will be an issue that will be incredibly difficult for IOs to address.