Disaster Risk Reduction and Inclusive Development

The UN classifies Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as the desire “to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through an ethic of prevention.” The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) also takes the stance that there are no such things as natural disasters but only natural hazards. The UNISDR believes that there should be an importance placed on restoring and maintaining the environment. This is one aspect of the reduction element of DRR. If State parties were making better choices in how land and resources are managed, then it would be possible to reduce the disasters, or to at least minimize the damage that could happen. However, this does not mean that State parties are supposed to look for ways to stop natural disasters, much of the environmental impact that causes natural disasters to be more destructive than they once were have already happened. What State parties can do, on the other hand, is implement more advanced warning systems and improve the overall preparedness for dealing with natural disasters.

Disaster Risk Management follows a similar idea. Poor people are more frequently affected by natural disasters, and it is up to State parties to make sure that poor persons are able to survive during and after the natural disaster. DRM can include planning into urban areas, especially as more and more people are expected to move into urban areas by 2050. As natural disasters such as droughts push more people into cities, not only where there be a food shortage related disaster, there will also be a housing disaster. The international approach to disasters is a “culture of prevention.” The UN, along with governments at the national, state, and local level, civil society, and general collaboration between state actors, are all major players in DRR.

The UNISDR outlines a plan of vision, goals, objectives, and implementation when it comes to preventing disasters. There is an emphasis on research and including risk reduction into development plans that are already under way. The Sendai Framework—which was adopted in 2015—looks to reduce the loss of lives, livelihoods and health in disasters. The Sendai Framework also has nation states take over the role of leader when it comes to reducing disaster risk. Given that each nation state experiences different environmental factors, I believe that is important for states to take the leading role when it comes to disasters. By having individual states lead the way, more individualized plans—or regional plans for countries that experience similar climates—could be created for the greater benefit of the people living in those countries.