A Primer on Linking Disaster Risk Reduction with Development Efforts

I’m very happy to announce that the primer I wrote for the Advanced Centre for Enabling Disaster Risk Reduction is now available online.

Here’s the abstract:

When one surveys news reports today, mention of disasters seem to be commonplace. And, quite often, there is a lot of response to disasters. Aid agencies channel money or other forms of relief directly to communities who need it or to organizations who are better prepared to implement response work. Governments create plans to offer rehabilitation support, or find some other way to compensate those who are affected by disasters. Academicians write reports comparing one disaster to similar disasters, and theorize about what could have been done to minimize the impact of the disaster.

But where is the community in this post-disaster scenario? And what about the communities who have not suffered catastrophes? Are they safe? Is that enough? Is it appropriate to merely respond to disasters, or is there a better way to approach disaster risk reduction? And what does this mean for a development organization?

ACEDRR believes that there is simultaneously a positive and negative relationship between development and disasters. However, development efforts have incredible potential to contribute to disaster risk reduction and to help create a “culture of preparedness”. Development practitioners have a responsibility to be aware of this continuum and use it to guide their work and to build knowledge about disaster preparedness and prevention.

This primer is by no means a complete account of the relationship between disasters and development. However, it is hoped that this primer can serve as an introduction for practitioners to become more sensitized to the relationship, and that they use this awareness to change from working in what is mostly a reactive manner, to working in a proactive one. It is also hoped that this primer can lay a foundation for further discussions and research—not discussions and research designed around communities, but ones which include the community as an integral partner and as a stakeholder whose traditional wisdom might be able to help us with some of the more complicated issues we face in our rapidly modernizing world.

And, here’s the report itself.

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