The Risk of Improper Disaster Risk Planning

Our last aspect in exploring inclusive sustainable cities was disaster risk reduction and disaster management. This subject is important when considering cities because of their huge populations, so there needs to be precautionary plans to anticipate natural disasters or emergencies and to also have the resiliency and adaptation to recover from these situations and hopefully prevent them. Risk reduction refers to the practice of reducing disaster risks through efforts to analyze and reduce the causal factors of disasters. It involves a combination of hazard (frequency, magnitude, location), exposure (who is at risk), and vulnerability (susceptibility of an individual to be impacted by hazards). Risk management on the other hand is the application of disaster risk reduction policies and strategies that aim to prevent new disaster risks, reduce existing risks, manage residual risks, and strengthen the resilience and reduction of losses. There are three main categories risk management falls under: prospective, corrective, and compensatory. Inclusive disaster risk reduction and management takes all these steps further by making sure all people — those with disabilities, youth, elderly, etc. — are able to be prepared and included in plans. All aspects from first responders, to alerts, to evacuation need to be able to adapt and help with all people to ensure their safety.

While this may seem like a lot of fine details and verbiage to go into when understanding disaster risk reduction, these are the overarching discussions brought into major meetings such as the Sendai Framework and the Dhaka Declaration. The Sendai Framework was adopted at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNWCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015. The purpose of the Framework was to guide the “multi-hazard management of disaster risk in development at all levels as well as within and across all sectors” (UNDRR). The four priorities are understanding disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance, investing in disaster reduction for resilience, and enhancing disaster preparedness for proper response. I think this agreement is so important because of the amount of growing cities and the worsening natural disasters that many cities are not equipped to handle. It is also important since it lays out guidelines for countries to use and apply it to whatever risks their cities are more prone to because they are not all the same. The Think Hazard website helps give those brief overviews on what certain areas are more prone to, which could be applied to risk reduction planning in each country. For example, Jakarta has high risks for river floods, urban floods, and coastal floods, yet even within that the city has its own sectors that have more prevalent risks depending on the area.

The Dhaka Declaration was another important component that supported the Sendai Framework because it called for concrete actions in including persons with disabilities in disaster risk management. It expressed that individuals are differently impacted by disasters and that inclusive disaster risk management needs collaborative approaches, shared values, and the voices of those who would be impacted. Lastly, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) assists in disaster risk reduction and management plans for different regions by assessing the needs, building a strategy, and then rebuilding. They offer award grants for specific activities within its operating principles. Its consultative group helps set the strategic objectives, reviews results, and works with multiple partnerships to provide funding for projects. I was not able to find any results on how their grants have been applied and which organizations have utilized them, but I think it would be interesting to see if there have been any improvements or progress with that funding and in what regions of the world they are being used in.
“Chart of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.” Chart of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 |, UNDRR, 2019,