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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

With the increase of those affected by disasters, the sector has shifted its focus from disaster response to risk reduction.

In order to understand present efforts that are made to reduce risk from disasters, it is important to understand the different types of interventions that can be undertaken.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) comprises two areas:

  • Mitigation: actions aim to avoid or minimise the impact of a potential disaster.

  • Preparedness: efforts to ensure measures are in place to be able to deal with residual risk, ensuring an effective response and recovery.

These proactive phases aim to save lives, minimise damage to property, infrastructure and the general negative effects of a disaster.

International policy measures have developed in three steps from a focus on understanding hazard process, to understanding the role of social vulnerability, to the application of resilience-based approaches linking with wider climate change and sustainability agendas.

The current international strategy on disaster risk reduction, the Sendai Framework builds on earlier measures but with a greater emphasis on risk management and strengthening resilience. Seven global targets are identified with the following four priorities for action (UNDRR ND):

  • Understanding disaster risk

  • Strengthening disaster-risk governance to manage disaster risk

  • Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience

  • Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to ‘Build-Back-Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

Disaster Risk Reduction and development

Addressing underlying risk faced by local people is essential to minimise impacts. A guiding principle of the Sendai Framework identifies the need for coherence of disaster risk reduction and sustainable development policies (UN General Assembly 2016).

But the challenge lies in ensuring they are locally effective.

As well as being recognised in the Sendai Framework, the links between disaster risk reduction and development are emphasised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda is a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which targeted eight key areas for improvement. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 global targets bring together the struggle to eradicate poverty alongside the need for sustainable development.

The implementation of the Agenda and the Framework provides opportunities to work with communities to reduce disaster risk and build a more resilient future.


UNDRR (ND) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction [online]. available from https://www.undrr.org/publication/sendai-framework-disaster-risk-reduction-2015-2030 [17 March 2020]

UN General Assembly (2016) ‘Report of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Indicators and Terminology Relating to Disaster Risk Reduction’. held 1 December 2016. New York: United Nations General Assembly, 41

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This article is from the free online course:

Community Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience: An Introduction

Coventry University