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Difficulties implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action

In addition to improved mainstreaming of social vulnerability approaches, the mid-term review (UNISDR 2011) identified three strategic areas requiring further attention .

An initial problem identified when implementing the HFA strategically and holistically was the lack of clarity in several countries regarding who ‘owns’ disaster risk reduction.

This is a symptom of the multidisciplinary evolution of disaster risk reduction and has lead to serious issues of institutional overlap, coordination, and ultimately accountability.

Secondly, a holistic approach failed because inter-linkages between different HFA priorities for action were compartmentalised and therefore not fully articulated in the design and implementation of disaster risk reduction initiatives.

Briceno (2015) identified that many effective disaster risk reduction programmes were being implemented. However, problems lay within development sector investments rather than DRR. Development interventions in infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, energy, tourism and so on still did not effectively integrate disaster risk reduction and so continued to reinforce old and potentially created new types of vulnerabilities.

Overall, when the end of the HFA’s period was reached, in 2015, there was not enough evidence to suggest that risk reduction was sufficiently mainstreamed into the ‘business processes’ of national government departments, the development sectors, planning ministries and financial institutions.

Local level implementation

It was also noted that the HFA was not as well understood at the local level despite being referenced at national and international levels. This made it hard for local administrators to identify and design good practice disaster risk reduction or be in a position to interface with national counterparts from a position of knowledge of commitments of national authorities.

The capacity of local governments to coordinate other aligned efforts such as socio-economic development plans at the local level were raised consistently throughout the mid-term review (UNISDR 2011).

A worryingly understated observation was the speed with which disaster risk reduction policies and measures were being implemented. Despite an acceleration over the previous 10 years, it was obvious that those gains were still not proportionate to the rate at which global vulnerability was increasing.

Your task

If global change is accelerating vulnerability faster than we are currently able to implement DRR, what solutions do you suggest?


UNISDR (2011) Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 mid-term review. http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/18197 [17 December 2019]

Briceño, S. (2015) ‘Looking Back and Beyond Sendai: 25 Years of International Policy Experience on Disaster Risk Reduction’. Int J Disaster Risk Sci 6, 1–7

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This article is from the free online course:

Disaster Risk Reduction: An Introduction

Coventry University