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The next frontier for Disaster Risk Reduction

Last updated:
31 October 2017
Overseas Development Institute

This report looks at the political and institutional barriers – both real and perceived – to adapting Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy, practice and overseas development assistance to fragile or conflict-affected contexts.

Tackling disasters in fragile and conflict-affected contexts

While a body of literature exists on protracted crises, particularly in Africa, this tends to be circulated and discussed by those who consider themselves to be working on either ‘conflict’ or ‘crises’ and is largely non-existent in mainstream discussions on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and disaster risk governance. Despite both dealing with risk management, there remains a hesitancy to explore the relationship between disasters and conflict.

This report seeks to understand why this hesitancy remains. Interviews with experienced DRR policy-makers, donors and practitioners revealed a wide range of challenges, including the confines of institutional mandates; the lack of an evidence base to guide policy and programming; fear of the unknown; lack of funding for experimentation and trialling new or unproven approaches; practical concerns around accessibility and operational security; and a tendency to prioritise peace and security over DRR in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Take collective responsibility

This report calls for  our collective responsibility to take action in four key areas:

  1. Integrate DRR in fragile and conflict-affected contexts into existing monitoring and convening processes under the direction of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and Member States.
  2. Collate what we know and articulate what we don't through the generation of a robust evidence base.
  3. Establish and formalise a community of practice to share, debate and learn about the practical application of DRR in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, and promote that learning in policy spaces through a group of political champions.
  4. Utilise existing convening spaces and platforms through which to fast track progress in DRR in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.
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