Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (and robots)

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), as defined by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, “Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) aims to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through an ethic of prevention” (UNISDR). Because disasters are often unforeseen and are due to natural phenomenon, being prepared for their effects is extremely important and affects everyone. Disaster Risk Management (DRM) is basically the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction. For example, Disaster Risk Reduction aims to reduce the damage caused by a hurricane and Disaster Risk Management is the implementation of a preparedness program.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management are key parts of development because natural disasters are unpredictable and DRR and DRM focus on mitigation and recovery. Disasters affect all people, but they affect groups unequally and usually the most marginalized groups are affected the most. This highlights how DRR and DRM have historically not been very inclusive, but there is a movement to change this.

The Dhaka Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management occurred in 2015 and created a declaration containing action items for parties to complete to have more inclusive Disaster Risk Management. The declaration is a sort of supplement to the Sendai Framework which is the biggest disaster document of the moment. The Sendai Framework was drafted at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 and outlines strategy for 2015-2030. This conference was one of the biggest in the United Nations’ history and was one of the more inclusive conferences as well. Participants were able to watch video of the conference and in some locations were even able use robot technology to interact with people at the conference. The framework outlines targets and priorities for action to better prevent/mitigate disaster risks, and better respond to disaster effects. The four priorities for action are “understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction” (UNISDR).

The Sendai Framework and Dhaka Declaration on Disability and Disaster Risk Management used together have the capacity to change how disasters affect our world and give marginalized groups a voice to share how they are disproportionately affected by them. Both documents can work to create more resilient communities and unite stakeholder groups to better respond to and mitigate disasters.