Logo GRF IDRC 2012
Session Overview
MON7.4: Disaster risk is a development issue – A development approach to disaster risk assessment and management
Time: Monday, 27/Aug/2012: 6:40pm - 8:10pm
Session Chair: Carlos Anibal VILLACIS, UNDP-BCPR
Location: Wisshorn

Training course organized by UNDP-GRIP


Disaster risk is a development issue – A development approach to disaster risk assessment and management

Carlos VILLACIS, Jianping YAN


In 2011, according to CRED’s Annual Disaster Statistical Review-2011, 332 disasters associated to natural extreme events were registered that killed a total of 30,773 people around the world. To put the impact of these disasters in perspective, they affected a total 244.7 million people worldwide, which is equivalent to more than 19 times the entire population of Senegal, for example, and produced economic damages estimated at US$ 366.1 billion, which is equivalent to more than 21 times the Honduras’ GDP in 2011. It is clear, then, that this level of losses has a huge impact on the normal development of countries, especially of the least developed ones. The 2004 Report on Disaster Risk Reduction for Sustainable Development in Africa already established that disaster impacts have become impediments to sustainable development in Africa. If nothing is done to effectively reduce the negative impact of natural events that recurrently affect countries, in particular, the most vulnerable ones, these countries will never be able to provide proper health, education, nutrition, jobs and opportunities to their people.

Developing local capacities is the only way to ensure sustainability of the long-term risk reduction initiatives needed to actually reduce the impact of disasters on development. Disaster risk is dynamic and changes continuously with factors such as normal development and demographic growths, internal and external migrations, changes in the economy, conflicts, and urbanization processes, among other things. A risk assessment performed for a vibrant urban area 10 years ago may now be completely obsolete and in need of a thorough revision. At the same time, new available technology such as GPS, Google earth and mapping, and other projects and initiatives being implemented generate, in a continuous basis, new information that needs to be properly and systematically incorporated to enhance the current understanding of disaster risk, its causes and potential mitigation options. Also, the updated understanding of the risk needs to be continuously incorporated in decision making processes by end users of the risk information. All of this is possible only when there are the local capacities, in terms of the required technical, institutional and financial aspects, to carry out these activities. Countries, cities, communities cannot depend on international consultants or organizations. Building these capacities, however, requires long-term, dedicated initiatives.

The training will focus on dealing with disasters from a development perspective. It will cover the following aspects:

• Essentials of risk assessment, including key concepts, assessment process, framework, and common challenges, as well as the use of risk information in public decision making

• UNDP-GRIP’s Disaster Risk Assessment (DRA) solution and associated practices in developing countries

• The road map for implementing a comprehensive DRA in a country

• Examples of actual application of risk assessment results in decision making and development planning

Through this training, the participants are expected to:

• Understand the development dimensions of disaster risk assessment and management and, therefore, adopt a development-focused approach when dealing with disaster risk

• Develop an overall understanding of disaster risk assessment in a country and its possible use in public policy and decision making

• Be able to explain the role and importance of DRA in formulating national disaster risk reduction strategy and action plans